Chapter 50

3A09EEEF-95A0-4967-8BD4-27624353000F

OCTOBER

“That’s it, baby. Christ!”

I let my head fall back and moan as Christian’s hands move up and cup each of my breasts. He pinches my nipples between his index and middle fingers and the sharp bite of pain radiates through my entire body and wraps around the tight ball of pleasure building more and more potent in my belly. I reach down to place both of my hands on either of his thighs and lean back so that every time I rise and fall, he’s hitting me in exactly the right place.

“Oh, fuck!”

“Don’t come yet, Ana,” he warns me, but I don’t slow my pace. “Ana…”

“Why?”

His hands move down to my waist and he pulls me off of him. I whine as I fall on the bed, but he cuts off my protest with a hard, dominating kiss while he climbs over the top of me. “Because I fucking said so.”

I moan as he thrusts inside of me again, harder this time. His cadence is slow but purposeful and nearly bruising. Everytime he pushes into me, the force rocks me backwards so I wrap my arms and legs around him to keep myself anchored, but his punishing rhythm makes it impossible for me to hang on and my nails scrape down his back. He groans and kisses me again, so fiercely that I worry my lips will be swollen before he even pulls away.

“More,” I plead, and he lets out a lust filled moan before pulling out again, flipping me over onto my stomach and pulling my hips into the air. His hand comes down hard on my ass, making me gasp in both surprise and pleasure, and then his knees move between mine and force my legs as far apart as they can stretch. The position he puts me in feels precarious, but when he plunges inside of me again, I dig my knees and fingers into the comforter to find balance so he doesn’t have to stop. He’s so deep this way it’s like I can feel him in my tonsils. He leans over the top of me and sucks softly at my earlobe before whispering into my ear.

“Like that?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me how it feels, baby.”

“Deep. Full. Incredible. Please, don’t stop. Don’t ever stop.”

“Never,” he agrees, and then rams into me again. I turn to bury my face in the pillow so I can scream without worrying about Mrs. Jones or our new nanny hearing us, but he quickly wraps his fingers through my hair and turns my head again so my cries echo through the room around us. The louder I am, the harder he thrusts, and it continues to cycle on and on until my blood begins to flame through my veins with the promise of an impending orgasm.

“Oh, Ana…” he groans. “Mmm, you’re getting so tight.”

“You’re going to make me come.” My voice is too high, too full need. He’s been drawing this out all afternoon and I worry the desperation that drips from each of my words will make him pull back and once again leave me teetering on the line between all consuming pleasure and agony, but he doesn’t. His hand moves back down to my ass and digs into my skin, pulling at my lips and opening me further to him. Even my breaths start to shake with anticipation and I can feel his body start to tighten over the top of me.

“I want you to come at the same time I do, Ana.”

I whimper. “Then come.”

“Not yet. Almost.” He’s panting now and each harsh breath washes over my ear and radiates down my body like a shiver.

“Please…

“Almost. Almost. Fuck!” His hand moves beneath my chin and he tilts my lips up to his. The moment his tongue crosses into my mouth, my entire body seizes and I know I’m not going to be able to hold back anymore.

“Christian, I’m going to… “

“Now,” he commands, and on cue I explode. Every pulse of my orgasm is so intense I seem to convulse beneath the confines of Christian’s body and his responding, guttural groans of pleasure resonate with the hungry animal inside of me. I’m lost in a haze of hedonistic lust that is absorbed in the simple idea of him coming inside of me and how much satisfaction I find in it. To take him. To accept him. I want all of his pleasure and feeling what he’s experiencing sends me into a deep, carnal spiral that has me reeling long after the heat of my orgasm has died away.

“Oh my god,” I whisper once he’s finally pulled away and collapsed onto the bed next to me. My chest heaves with exertion and makes my head feel heavy. “You are so goddamn incredible at what you do, Christian Grey.”

He lets out a soft laugh and then turns a sexy, well satisfied smile on me. “Let’s not go out tonight. Let’s stay here, in bed, and just do this until we can’t anymore.”

“Mmm, as tempting as that sounds, and believe me, it does, we promised. Besides, we can’t miss Kate and Elliot’s anniversary.”

“Why? They should be celebrating the same way I want to.”

“By fucking me?” He glares and I laugh. “They want us there, so that’s where we’re going to be. It’s one night, Christian.”

He frowns. “This isn’t even really their anniversary. They broke up for ten months, they don’t just get to pretend that didn’t happen. Their new anniversary starts in July.”

I smile and reach over to brush my hand over his cheek. “It’s something to celebrate. We promised we wouldn’t let moments like these pass us by anymore, remember?”

“I’m not. I have plenty to celebrate right here.”

I squeal as he reaches around my body and grabs my ass and then lean in to kiss him again. It’s long and lingering and wonderful, but as much as I’m willing to let him tempt me into staying right here with him all night, Kate has done so much for me and tonight is for her.

“I need to get ready,” I whisper against his lips. He groans, but ultimately releases me, then lies back with his hands behind his head to enjoy the view as I climb out of bed.

It’s not the only view to enjoy. The sweeping vista of Lake Washington through the glass that makes up the back wall of our new bedroom is breathtaking. We’ve been in the new house for over a month now, and I still go out on the balcony every morning with a mug of tea to just stare out at the water. Everything is so peaceful here. Our days are no longer filled with the noise of sirens, garbage trucks, and city traffic. Now, it’s just soft autumn breezes that carry the smell of the water and sounds of children’s laughter from the houses closest to us. I’m so grateful that Christian had the foresight to buy this place when he did. The new house has been my own personal haven since the incident in July and being here was the first that that made me feel like moving on was truly possible.

After gathering the clothes that Christian tossed carelessly across the floor in his hurry to get inside of me, I bite down on my lip and turn a coy look back on my husband.

“You know, I do have to take a shower…” His responding smile is immediate.

“Well, then we better make sure you get good and dirty first.” He leaps out of the bed like a hungry jungle cat and I shriek with glee as he chases me into the bathroom.

We stay beneath the cascade of hot water for far longer than we should, but when I’m finally able to pull myself out of Christian’s persistent hands and get myself ready for tonight, I’m in a really great mood. Elliot has planned an elaborate evening at Seattle’s most exclusive, and expensive, restaurant, which means we’re all getting dressed up. It’s the rare opportunity I have to pick out a beautiful dress and be a little indulgent with makeup without worrying about putting on a public persona, which makes the hour in front of the mirror I spend getting ready feel more like fun and less like a chore. I dance around my bathroom in the special french lingerie I’ve specifically selected to drive Christian wild when we get home later, while shamelessly mouthing the lyrics to the N’Sync Christmas album playing on my phone. If this last year has taught me anything, it’s that I should never take anything for granted, and right now that means listening to Christmas music in October.

Calliope likes it, obviously because she’s inherited my excellent taste, and she giggles in her bouncy seat as I pirouette in front of the bathroom counter. I look down at her, beaming.

“Is that funny?” I coo, and when she laughs again, I unbuckle her from her seat and start to dance with her. She’s already dressed in the tiny powder blue gown I ordered for her a few days ago, and as we sweep across the floor, she looks just like a princess.

“Hold still,” I hear Christian say from the doorway, and then turn to see him holding his phone up to take a picture. I turn, trying to hide behind the baby as best I can, and give him an indignant look.

“Don’t you dare!”

The camera clicks, and when he looks down at the image on his screen, he smiles. “Perfect. Pouting about it just made you all the more adorable.”

I glare, but the discontent is short lived after he steps into the room and sweeps Calliope out of my arms.

Regarde ma jolie petite fille!” He lifts her over his head and pushes his face into her tummy, making vicious sounding snarls until she starts to laugh. The way he is with her, so light and happy, makes my heart melt and when he finally pulls her down into his arms, my smile is so broad my cheeks start to hurt.

“I’m telling you, Ana. We have to look into the world record for most beautiful baby, because I’m pretty sure we’ve got it in the bag.”

I laugh, then lean over Calliope and start kissing her entire face. “World’s best baby.”

When I pull away, Christian places a single finger beneath my chin and pulls my lips up to his. I hum with pleasure, deepening the kiss, and his hand slides down my throat to the low cut hem of my lingerie.

“What’s this?”

“Something for you to think about, rather than touch,” I say, slapping his hand away. “This is a present you’re going to have to open later.”

“That’s rude.”

“Oh, Mr. Grey, the things I have planned for you later are very rude indeed.” My eyes twinkle with lascivious promise, and I watch his mouth twist for just a hint of a second with desire. The desire that is spawned by my words is tangible as it hangs in the air between us, but eventually he takes a deep breath and steps back to lean against the bathroom wall.

“Elliot just called. Apparently there’s some concert or something that he wants us all to go see after dinner downtown and there won’t be any parking, so he wants us to pick them up since we have a Taylor to drop us off.”

“What? No. We’re not going there.”

“To Pioneer Square?”

I give him a pointed look to both illustrate that Pioneer Square is not the issue and that he should know exactly what I’m talking about.

Once the dust settled from the incident with Lincoln and we finally started to get back to our normal lives, Kate decided that she was ready to move in with Elliot again, but she didn’t want to live in the house that he shared with Gia. She’d helped him pick that house out the summer before and he’d shared it with another woman, so being there just felt like betrayal to her. He ultimately agreed to sell, but it was scooped off the market much more quickly than the new house they were building in Medina could be finished. So, they’ve been living in Escala in the interim. It’s been great for both of them being so close to work, but not so good for family gatherings. I haven’t been back since that night, and I never intend to.

Christian starts to look the way he does when he’s going to try and talk to me about what happened, so I quickly turn and reach for my mascara to give me a legitimate excuse for telling him I don’t have time to deal with this right now.

“Flynn still has you on his schedule, Ana. You should go and see him.”

“I do see him.”

“I mean, alone. Not just with me.”

“I’m fine.”

“Ana…”

“I’m fine!” I realize I’m shouting and that is an entirely inappropriate response for the message I’m trying to convey, so I take a breath and try again. “I’m fine. I just don’t want to go back to Escala. I’ve been very clear about that and you agreed.”

He wants to argue with me, I know he does, but he won’t. Instead he lets out a disappointed sigh and nods his head. “You’re right, I did. I’ll have Andrea send a car.”

“Fine.” My tone is meant to dismiss him, but he doesn’t leave. He comes up behind me and places a hand over the exposed part of my hip, so gently that his touch gives me goosebumps. When he drags the tip of his nose up the curve of my neck, my whole body shivers.

“I love you.”

Instantly, my irritation vanishes. “I love you too.”

“Mmm.” His lips press softly into the sensitive place just below my ear. “Get dressed. Any longer in just this and you and I are going to be very, very late.”

I laugh, step out of his reach, and then make eye contact with him in the mirror. “Then go.”

He smiles and disappears from the bathroom with Calli still tucked in his arms. I take a deep breath, turn up the volume on my phone, and start with the mascara again.

 

We’re the last to arrive at Canlis and Elliot is clearly irritated. He practically glares at Christian as he pulls out my chair at the table, but Kate’s over excitement to get Calliope in her arms quickly eliminates his ability to be openly indignant towards us. Christian knows this, so he gives Elliot an almost arrogant smirk as he relinquishes the baby and settles down into his seat next to me.

“Good of you to join us, Son,” Carrick says. “I must have called you three times today. I was beginning to worry.”

“I’m sorry, Ana and I have been a little pre-occupied this afternoon and I didn’t see your calls until we were already on the way. Is everything alright?”

“The team keeps telling me it is, but I’m concerned that this tape isn’t everything we’re hoping for. The man had an affair, which is terrible, but I’m not convinced it’s enough for Seattle voters to vote out their three term incumbent mayor. We should be focusing more on the systematic corruption he’s turned a blind eye on.”

Christian shakes his head. “We are, Dad, but believe me when I tell you this is your ace in the hole. It’s not just an affair. He used his position and taxpayer money to keep what he was doing secret. Government funds were spent on hotel rooms, weekend getaways, gifts. I’ve had every PR expert in this city keeping that narrative constant on the airways since the story broke, it’s going to ruin him. Come November, you’re going to be mayor, Dad. Trust me.”

“You really don’t think this is going to come back and bite us in the ass? I mean, the whole October surprise thing, isn’t it kind of… petty?”

“That footage wasn’t ours. It was sent to King 5 anonymously.” Carrick gives Christian a suspicious look but he doubles down.  “I swear, I really didn’t have anything to do with it. I’m sure it was sent by a concerned citizen who knew you really could do some good after you were elected. People believe in you, Dad.”

“What if whoever sent that tape tries to use it as blackmail later? As some kind of leverage for getting me into office?”

“I don’t know how they could. You didn’t pay for it, you didn’t even release it. Your hands are completely clean of this, Dad. You just need to relax and be grateful. This is a good thing.”

He takes a breath and nods, but as the conversation switches back to Kate and Elliot, I look down at the salad in front of me and push it around my plate with the end of my fork. Once Christian was out of the hospital, he immediately sued the Seattle Police Department for their own negligence in what had happened. Unfortunately, that lawsuit is currently being held up in a slew of bureaucratic loopholes and roadblocks through the King County court system, and the security footage we released to clear my father of the charges filed against him ultimately led both the police and the FBI to consider the case closed based on the confessions and ultimate death of Andrew Lincoln.

All of my worst fears about what would happen with the police after this was over have been realized. No follow up investigations are being done into the additional people Linc may have had working for him but were never caught, there hasn’t been anything done about the prison guards who allowed Elena Lincoln to be smuggled out of prison during the highly publicized riot only to be later found gruesomely murdered herself, and not one officer or detective has faced even reprimand over the failures to protect one of Seattle’s most notable residents, despite the overt threat that was brought to their attention over and over again. Carrick had warned us that this was going to be pushed under the rug, it was too damning to the people in power in this city, but Christian refused to let it. As a family, we decided that if the people in power weren’t going to help us, they needed to be replaced, and so, at the very last second, Carrick entered into the Seattle Mayoral race.

If he wins, when he wins, he’ll be able to appoint his own chief of police, who won’t let this go. Not just in our case, but for everyone. Three people died in the apartment fire Linc set to try and cover his disposal of Charles Gresham, their families deserve justice just the same as we do. Therefore, it’s our responsibility to do everything in our power to make sure Carrick overcomes the deficit his late entry has left him in with the voters so that he takes office in January. For Christian, that means providing funding, using his connections around the city to garner support, and hiring the best of the best to advise and run his father’s campaign. For the rest of us, it means something different.

“You okay?” Christian asks, reaching beneath the table to place a reassuring hand on my knee. I glance over, give him a closed lip smile, and then very purposefully turn my attention to Grace and Kate, who are talking about construction on her new house.

“You would think Elliot being the owner of the construction company building the house would mean fewer headaches and delays, but I swear something new comes up every week to push our moving day further out.”

“Well, if you didn’t keep changing your mind on what you wanted every three days…” Elliot says defensively, but when Kate turns to glare at him, he immediately falls silent.

“You’ll be settled soon enough,” Grace assures her. “Christian and Ana waited months for their home to finish being remodeled, and look how beautifully it turned out in the end. Speaking of which, I’m thinking about remodeling our kitchen and I wanted to talk to you about where you ordered your counters from, Anastasia. I can’t get over how beautiful your marble is.”

“Tuscany,” Elliot answers. “And trust me, it’s not worth it. That whole transaction was a nightmare.”

“But it’s the best of the best,” Christian insists.

“Mhm.” He rolls his eyes and then jumps a little before reaching into the pocket of his dinner jacket to remove his phone. When he sees the number, he frowns.

“No phones at the dinner table, Elliot,” Mia says, her tone annoyed because Grace had only just taken her phone away a few minutes before.

“Hold on, it’s work. I have to take this.”

“Now?” Kate asks.

“I’m sorry, I’ll be right back.” He gets up from the table and disappears through the dimly lit dining room, but as the conversation between the family turns to a new subject, I make eye contact with her and note that she looks a little rueful.

“Everything okay?”

“Fine,” she says, but the smile she gives me doesn’t reach her eyes.

Our entrees arrive before Elliot gets back, which doesn’t seem to sit well with Kate. I watch her glances to the door Elliot disappeared through become more pointed and angry the further we get into the meal and by the time he finally does come back to the table, she’s practically shaking.

“I have to go…” Elliot says nervously, picking up his glass of water to take a drink before pulling his coat from the back of his chair.

“You’re not serious,” Kate replies.

“I’m sorry, baby. Emergency. They need me down on a job site right now. Enjoy your dinner and I’ll meet you guys at the concert later, okay?”

“Elliot, it’s our anniversary.”

“I know, and I wish I could stay, but I can’t. I’ll get back as soon as I can. Promise.” He leans over to kiss her cheek, but she moves out of the way.

“I would think long and hard about your decision to leave this restaurant right now if I were you, Elliot Trevelyan-Grey.”

“I don’t want to go, Kate, but I have to. I’m sorry. I’ll be quick, I swear.”

Her mouth sets into a thin line, so he gives up on the idea of a kiss good-bye and gives the rest of his family a sheepish look before hurrying away from the table. Once he’s gone, I see Kate’s entire body tense and her grip tightens on the fork in her hand.

“This stuff happens,” Christian says, trying to play the peacekeeper. “You can’t always plan for catastrophes when you own a company. I’ve had to leave Ana in the lurch before.”

“Really?” Kate’s tone is more hard and skeptical than curious.

“Yeah. I missed nearly everything she planned for Valentine’s Day last year. She spent that night alone. No, worse, with Luke. It killed me, just like I know it’s killing Elliot to leave right now.”

Her shoulders rise as she takes a deep breath, but she still doesn’t seem to be put completely at ease by Christian’s reassurances. For the rest of the meal, she’s quiet and mostly withdrawn from the conversation around the table, so after we’ve left and Taylor has dropped us off in the heart of Pioneer Square so we can all make our way to the concert venue, I purposefully fall behind the others so she and I can speak privately.

“Are you okay?”

“One night, Ana. All I wanted was one night where I felt just as important as his job. I mean, is that too much to ask?”

“No. And you are important to him, Kate. Christian was right before. You know he would rather be here with you than anywhere else in the world.”

“Do I?” The overt doubt in her tone has me slightly taken aback and I think she can see that because she looks away and takes a second to choose her words carefully before she continues. “I know he loves me, okay? I know that, but maybe love means something different to him than it does to me. I don’t know… I just… I worry that this is turning into exactly what it was right before we broke up and I’d kind of forgotten how this felt, you know? To be abandoned all the time. To be his second choice. I know what it’s like not to have him, to miss him all the time, and it’s excruciating. I can’t do that again. But this…” She pauses again. “This isn’t better. Carter was willing to marry me, Ana. Carter wanted to marry me, and I turned him down. For this.

The pain in her voice wounds me but I don’t know how to comfort her. She knew what she was getting before she ever got back together with Elliot, she said she’d accepted it, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Maybe she thought he’d change his mind. Maybe she’s changed hers.

“Kate, you know that Elliot doesn’t want marriage, don’t you?”

“Yes, Ana. He’s been very clear about that.”

“No, but… you really know that, right? You’re not secretly holding out hope that one day his perspective on the world will change and he’ll realize marriage is what he’s wanted all along?”

“No, I’m not. I don’t care about a wedding, that’s not what this is about. I told you that I’m perfectly fine if we never get married as long as he was in this for real, forever, but that’s not what this is. I need him to show me that I mean more to him than just someone who he can have fun and hang out with but is also willing to give him sex. I need to feel like his love means something. I need to know that he’s really committed before…” Her words cut off and I feel my brow furrow.

“Before?”

“Oh my god, look!” Mia cries, and Kate’s attention is diverted away from me to the open space in the square in front of us. Music has started from somewhere and the crowd of people milling around, which I thought was concert traffic, suddenly breaks out into an elaborate choreographed dance.

“It’s a flash mob,” Kate says, narrowing her eyes, and, slowly, the stress from our conversation about Elliot melts off her face as she takes in the remarkable sight before us. The whole performance is impressive, with professional level dancing, singers, and some incredible acrobatics. Both Mia and Grace pull out their phones to record but before I can follow their lead, two people come up behind us and hook their arms through Kate’s to drag her forward. My first reaction is to panic, to reach forward, pull her back, and scream for help, but it becomes apparent very quickly that what’s happening isn’t malicious. Her involvement is part of the performance.

They take her into the middle of the square, set her down in a single chair, and hand her a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. From then on, everything the performers do is directed only at her, and as I finally recognize what song they’re all dancing and singing to, I realize what’s happening and my eyes start to prick with tears.

The crowd of dancers parts and in the middle of the newly formed aisle, Elliot stands, grinning at Kate. He walks towards her as the flash mob finishes the final verse of the song.

 

Cause it’s a beautiful night,

We’re looking for something dumb to do.

Hey, baby.

I think I wanna marry you.

Is it the look in your eyes?

Or is it this dancing juice?

Who cares, baby.

I think I wanna marry you.

 

Christian steps up behind me, places his arms around me, and kisses me gently on the cheek. “Did you know about this?” I ask.

“You think I would really willingly go to a concert Elliot picked out for Kate? God, we could have been subjected to… Katy Perry.” The mock disgust in his voice makes me laugh and I turn to beam at him.

“You Grey men…”

He smiles, and then kisses me quickly before we both turn to look back at Kate and Elliot in the middle of the square. The crowd surrounding them, including all of us, collectively holds their breath as Elliot reaches into his jacket pocket, pulls out a small, black box, and sinks down to one knee.

“Kate, I love you with all of my heart and the fact that I didn’t do this the very moment I met you makes me the biggest idiot in the entire world.  There is no amount of time I could spend with you that would ever be enough. I need forever. So, Katherine Agnes Kavanagh, love of my life, will you marry me?”

She looks as though she’s gone into shock. Her eyes are wide as she glances between him and the ring in his hand, but she doesn’t move, she doesn’t speak, and soon the air is thick with an uncomfortable kind of anxiousness. Elliot swallows and holds the ring out further to her.

“Katie?”

Her bottom lip starts to tremble and she glances around at all of us gaping at her. Her hesitation makes me cringe. This is actually happening. Elliot is down on one knee, finally putting aside the selfish part of himself to give her the one thing she’s wanted since day one, and instead of jumping up and down with joy, she looks devastated. Why? She just told me she needed to see some kind of commitment from him and here he is, on bended knee. Fuck, maybe that’s it. Maybe this is too late. Is she going to say no?

“Elliot…” Her voice shakes. “I-I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think that you would–”

“I know,” he interrupts her. “I was stupid when I told you I didn’t want this. I do. I really do, Kate.”

She brings her hand up to cover her mouth, and a tear falls from the corner of her eyes. The problem is, it’s not really a happy tear.  “Baby, I want to marry you so much it hurts, but there’s something you need to know before you really ask me this question…”

His face falls and his complexion quickly develops an almost green tint. “What?”

She swallows and looks at all of us once last time, clearly wishing she didn’t have to say what she’s about to with an audience. When she speaks, her words come out in a whisper. “I’m pregnant.”

Oh my god.

I look up at Christian and see that his mouth is open in shock. Every one of us is paralyzed in this moment, wanting to look away from the now completely blank expression on Elliot’s face, but none of us can. It’s like a bad car accident on the freeway. He looks like she’s just hit him with a freight train and now he’s left reeling, unable to react and unable to speak. The tension from his complete and utter lack of response is so thick that each second feels like an eternity, and eventually Kate starts to sob.

“Please say something,” she pleads.

Elliot blinks, then swallows, and looks back up at her again. “Me? I asked you a question, Katie, and you haven’t answered me. Will you marry me?”

“You mean… you’re still asking?”

“Of course I am.”

“But… you said you didn’t want this. You said that… that…”

She starts choking over her tears again, so Elliot scrambles to his feet and forces her to look into his eyes. “What I want is you, Katie. All of you. Everything about you. You are all I’ve ever wanted.”

“Elliot.” Her face breaks into a huge smile and she starts nodding her head. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes, I’ll marry you.”

He smiles, but his hands are shaking so badly when he moves to put the ring on her that he drops the box entirely and the platinum band rolls far enough across the cement that Christian has to stop it with his foot.

“Smooth, Elliot,” he says, handing it back to him, and Elliot’s cheeks pink as he takes the ring from his brother and slides it onto Kate’s finger. As she leaps into his arms and kisses her brand new fiance so passionately that she has to have forgotten about the crowd of people still standing all around them, the tears pooling in my eyes finally break over my lower lids and begin pouring down my cheeks, and Christian pulls me tighter into him.

“I guess this makes it official, you two are officially going to be sisters. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.”

I smile and glance down at Calliope, sleeping peacefully in the stroller in front of me, and then look back up into my husband’s eyes. “Yeah, but then again, I already have more than I could have ever dreamed. I have you. I love you, Christian.”

“I love you too, Anastasia. Forever and always.”

 

And there, in the light of the sunset pooling in the square around us, applause breaks out for Kate and Elliot’s happiness and Christian lowers his lips to mine in an all consuming kiss that resonates through every cell in my body.

Finally, everything is right.

Everything is perfect.

The End.

Outtakes

Book Four: The Final Shade of Fifty

 

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79 thoughts on “Chapter 50

  1. You cannot believe how happy I am that you’re writing the final book. It would’ve been extremely abrupt if you would’ve stopped here and it just wouldn’t feel right.

    Congratulations on another finished book!

    Looking forward to February…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I need time to process it. Like a long time. I am really happy to say that I followed you almost all of this journal and I can’t be more happy about it… and I hope to be still here when you publish your original work.
    Omg, I have this awful feeling of knowing that this is the final… and I don’t know what I would do if you didn’t have planned to post another book. It isn’t enough. It will never enough.
    Thank you, Tara.
    Really, really thank you for being the only one that make me wait days for a new chapter of a story. Thanks thanks and thanks. And congratulations. I supose you feel like a proud momma.

    Like

  3. So now Elliot wud cheat on her nd then she will realise what all she lost by refusing Carter??

    Cud u give us a plot line of wht wud happen in buk 4??
    I don’t think I can wait fr 4 MNTHS

    Like

    1. annu43,

      We get the OUTTAKES before book 4, and KNOWING that there is going to be a book 4 now, Tara can REALLY choose to amp-up the suspense with said Outtakes, should she choose to do so.

      I mean, for example, we could get a GIA Outtake that has her talking with a PARTICULAR police officer after Ana’s abduction. Or a call between her and Andrew, with Andrew telling Gia who she needs to involve NOW.

      And an Outtake from ELENA may reveal her giving certain NAMES to Andrew OR Isaac, trying to prolong her life. So ALL KIND of information AND CLUES will come from these OUTTAKES. Probably MORE in this book then in the others even.

      After all, we DON’T yet know ELLIOT’s REAL REASONS for doing this MARRIAGE proposal now. He may have felt THREATENED by Carter’s continuing presence in their lives, knowing what Carter did for Kate and Ana. Even KATE was seemingly having REGRETS at refusing Carter, even though she didn’t love him.

      And Elliot COULD be doing the whole marriage thing out of GUILT rather than being really convinced it is what he wants. AND this does NOT resolve all the issues between Kate and Elliot. Elliot seems UNABLE or unwilling to delegate tasks the way that Christian does with GEH. So the Marriage Proposal may seemingly gloss over the REAL problems in the relationship that are STILL there.

      And we don’t know where Carter is or what he is doing now. Or if he will be a continuing presence in the Grey family. I mean, THAT could have made Elliot take his present action, as mentioned above.

      AND did Carter do everything he did in the hopes of looking more appealing to Kate? An OUTTAKE from Carter MAY provide some insight.

      AND we DON’T know MIA’s feelings on the upcoming election or how she is dealing with everything else. We don’t even know who ELSE Gresham and his previous woman from Elena’s bar, who IS still out there, told about Mia’s involvement with Elena’s club. So there is potential BLACKMAIL material still out there for Mia. An OUTTAKE from Mia’s perspective MAY provide further insight as to how she is handling all this and IF she is getting the help she needs for the trauma on top of trauma that has happened to her.

      After all, Mia may be lost under all this OTHER lingering conspiracy-related stuff. After all, it is NOT like Mia can move on, when her father and brother are still so obsessed with finding and imprisoning all the people involved. People who WILL have a LOT to lose if exposed.

      So the OUTTAKES for this one could provide A LOT of insight into ISSUES for the Fourth book. It just depends on what all Tara wants to provide us with beforehand.

      In other words, we gets HINTS to Book 4 through the OUTTAKES prior to the beginning of Book 4. Because you KNOW that any Conspiracy-related outtakes would involve CONNECTIONS between these people and HOW they communicated with one another WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT.

      (AND I could even see Tara doing an Outtake where ANdrew calls a PARTICULAR individual that is NOT identified about whether or not said person has “taken care” of a particular problem. I mean, Andrew’s power stretched FAR into the criminal justice system since he could get Elena smuggled OUT of prison without ANYONE looking into who did it. After all, it would HAVE to take prison officials AND hirer-ups in the government to “overlook” such a thing AND somehow keep it out of the press! So the CONSPIRACY OUTTAKES will give us LOADS to dwell on and speculate between now and February!!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrick running for office can have some REAL lasting consequences. After all, his job is supposed to be for the people, NOT for his own personal agenda, which will be what he gets accused of. AND we don’t know JUST how far up the political corruption goes. AND Carrick trying to put in his own people will cause any NUMBER of issues.

    So Andrew has seemingly left a LOT of people determined to cover up their connection with him. And there is no knowing how far that goes. Hhhmmm.

    AND I KNEW that apartment fire was Andrew’s way of covering up Gresham’s death. AND no one is looking into punishing the people that helped Andrew. I get why Ana and Christian are so upset by this, but you just KNOW the backlash is coming. AND is it really JUSTICE or revenge that they want? Because I can see Christian getting lost in this, and HE then looks like the corrupt individual. We will just have to wait and see. (AND hope that Carrick doesn’t have any other cancer scares, particularly given how much STRESS can come from political campaigns and office.)

    (AND the pressure will be on for Mia to conform to being a stellar Grey child, given that Carrick’s FAMILY will be put under the microscope as well. And once again, all the Grey drama may mean that the focus is NOT on the Grey kids and what they are REALLY doing behind the scenes. So let’s hope Mia IS getting help for her issues. Otherwise, she could be publically exposed. Or at the very least, followed again by press OR other hired to find issues in the Grey household that could cost Carrick his political and/or legal career.)

    And the political uppity-ups and police will need ATTORNEYS to protect them. And didn’t Astor Harrington JUST get out of law school? (Mwah-ha-ha!!! I can see SO much potential in the whole politics/corruption angle. And hey, it is a TRENDY topic right now, given all that is going on in our national government right now!)

    And the Kate/Elliot thing. I want to hope that Elliot is doing this for all the right reasons. But it sounds like there are obvious issues still lingering under the surface. And NOW, add a BABY to all this. Hopefully, Kate and Elliot can work all this out. And I’m hoping Elliot looks to his brother for advice, given how happy Christian clearly is with HIS family life.

    So this chapter gives A LOT of room to delve into for the fourth book. YAY!!!

    And this ALSO seemingly means that Christian could NOT determine on his own who the police and political figures were that helped Andrew. Double Hhhmmmm.

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    1. I think Elliot is being emotionally forced to propose Kate maybe by…..christian or Kate

      He was literally shaking nd I think when d news of pregnancy settles in, he will have a lottt of questions.

      Nd Kate is right on her take abt her relationship with Elliot…..Kate nd even gia were I think just women fr him who indulge in fun things nd r great in bed

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    1. asunder73–

      Yeah, Elliot saw Kate’s scar after they drunkenly had sex together, and he guessed what had happened based on the PLACEMENT of the scar. Christian did the same thing originally, seeing where his father’s scar was and the way Kate carried herself after the surgery–it was ALL the same things Carrick had gone through.

      So Elliot found out early-on in their reunion about what Kate had done for his father. And THEN he found out about GIA and Andrew. So I’m HOPING that Elliot’s wedding proposal comes out of him TRULY changing his opinions on marriage and children rather than thinking he OWES this to Kate for what all she did for his family. Clearly LOTS of stuff for Tara to cover in the next book!

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  5. But this DEFINITELY sets the scene for the FOURTH book in the same way that Andrew’s call to Leila set up the groundwork for THIS book. After all, it brings home the fact that MANY untouchable AND unknown enemies remain out there that will do ANYTHING to keep themselves from being shown to have been involved in a plot that cause SO MANY deaths, particularly of innocents that had done NOTHING wrong OTHER than to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    So I GET why Ana wants justice. But I think Christian is after REVENGE. Hopefully, he LEARNED from Andrew’s need for revenge and what that DOES to a person. But then again, he sent Astor a wedding invitation, YEARS after their petty jealousies were supposed to be done with.

    But Carrick getting into the political arena WILL bring light onto Mia and her life and goals. And we ALREADY know what the pressure to be a “Grey kid” was doing to her in ABSOF, all BEFORE she even went to work at Elena’s club. And AFTER that, she went on a further downward spiral.

    Mia kept being overlooked due to the OUTWARD severity of everyone ELSE’s issues, and she was CLEARLY pretty messed up by the end of THIS book. So I’m wondering where she is in HER recovery process. Because Mia is NOT know for the best decision-making skills. . . .

    And there was nothing about Carter in this chapter. So I’m wondering where he will turn up next. Christian seemingly made him promises previously.

    But I LOVE that Ana and Kate will have children close in age that can grow up together. I had figured that Kate and Elliot would sooner or later have an accidental pregnancy, given their tendency to enjoy having “fun” while drunk out of their minds. Quite frankly, it was only a matter of time for both of them. Hopefully, Elliot will NOT be resentful or think Kate did this on purpose. BUT there CLEARLY seem to be underlying TENSIONS in the Kate/Elliot relationship which HAVE to be resolved.

    STILL SO COMPLETELY HAPPY that there is going to be a FOURTH book!!!! (Followed by the original work, which I am also happily looking forward to. I had zero interest in the mob-related story where Christian started out married to Leila. SO MUCH prefer the NEW plan!!!!!!) I mean, there is STILL SO MUCH story to complete for WHERE these characters end up. I seriously felt DAZED at the end of the last chapter, as I felt the story was nowhere near done. AND I had felt there were SO MANY storylines left over that needed to be resolved. BEST NEWS EVER about getting the Fourth book!!!!! Can’t say that enough!!!!!!!!! I’m really quite giddy actually!!!

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    1. It was like, two chapters ago (?) when I was thinking about what was left and I was like, there’s no way I can resolve everything in just a few chapters. Mostly it’s Ana and Christian that I feel I have to deal with, and I think (based on your comments here) that you’ll be surprised by the direction the fourth book takes. There are hints in this chapter 🙂

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      1. I was really pleasantly surprised by the political angle taken here, although it really makes sense. And I really DO see so MANY implications for Christian and Ana moving forward in regards to this. Again, Christian can risk spreading himself too thin between family obligations, GEH and political aspirations in regards to his father. AND getting elected would NOT be about JUST looking into corruption—Carrick’s duties are ongoing AND diverse. AND for moving forward, NOT just looking back. Plus, the opposing parties will try to make the GREY family look like the corrupt ones, trying to put their OWN people in. Which only puts MORE pressure on Ana and family. As well as Calliope, as she grows up. SO MANY possibilities!!

        And I admit, even though I’m curious as to how all the OTHER characters turn out, my focus and heart has ALWAYS been with Ana and Christian and what all this has done to them as people AND as parents. So I can’t WAIT to see the next book!!!!

        (AND I’m rather anxiously looking to see what you do with the OUTTAKES from this one. The OUTTAKES have always provided surprising revelations and insight into the various characters. After all, we are used to Ana’s POV in the books, so the OUTTAKES have been CRITICAL to previous books, especially as to Christian, in my opinion. And THESE Outtakes could give us more about the Conspiracy.)

        I think that really IS how you know that the story is NOT finished when there are SO MANY possibilities still out there for the story to take. I was NOT expecting this chapter to go the political angle, although that makes sense when you realize just HOW high the corruption has to go. PLUS, politics can’t help but impact families, so there is a lot out there to happen to in regards to other characters. ANDREW knew to target MORE than just Christian. So too, should the enemies still out there. (HOW long is it until February again?????)

        AND any SPECIFIC schedule for Outtakes yet? OR WHO will be featured in the OUTTAKES????

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      2. I’ll do a post later reviewing what has already been requested and doing a last call. I know there will be a lot of CPOV, and Linc/Conspiracy, but I also really want to do something from Kate’s perspective because I’ve never written that before.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This has been a journey, in which I’ve learned to be patient, and wait. I don’t do patient very well, but this story was worth every stressful chapter and week to week torcher sometimes! You’re a VERY gifted writer, and this has been a AWESOME journey to be on with your characters. Thank you for writing! By far one of the best stories I’ve read! ❤️
    👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Oh, and I can’t wait for the next installment! 😁

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  7. Oh my, it was a wonderful ending to a chapter in their lives. I can’t wait until the next installment of this wonderful story. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it with all of us Fifty Shades Fans. Until February, have a wonderful holiday season. 😊

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  8. I cannot express how happy I am to see this end, when I read the last chapter I thought this was going to be the end of the series and I wanted to cry all over again! This chapter is wonderful and as always I love it!!! Looking forward to February to read the final book!

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  9. Yes!!!!!! So happy for Kate and Elliot. My Monday’s will be very full and boring without these updates. Is it February yet? Lol can’t wait!!!

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  10. Congratulations, Tara, for the successful completion of this book which is fantastic! So many possibilities in the next book, look forward. Thank you for gifting and sharing your talents with us. Your dedication and commitments are totally professional, we are very lucky. Christmas songs in October, that’s peachy. Xoxo daytona

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  11. For me i could have be satisfied with this if you had decided to end it here. its been a great journey from the first book till now and its been wonderful following you. i personally don’t like the political angle, they should let sleeping dogs lie or do their own investigation and deal with these people their own way. there are so many secrets in this family that may come out especially for Christian with the perjury and all that. you can never know who has seen that book among those that worked for Lincoln. Thank you for blessing us with your talent.

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  12. OMG, I knew he was going to propose. Her being pregnant totally caught me off guard. What a GREAT ending to book #3. I am so looking forward to the last and final installment. Way to go, Elliot 🙂

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  13. that was great! I can’t believe the time you put into these stories. It is greatly appreciated by the way. It took me a while to find you again after FF and so glad I did. Definitely can’t wait for next story but I can understand why you need a break and the time it takes for the outlines after you explained how you did it. Thanks again

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  14. Not that I didn’t enjoy the ending, but knowing there is a fourth book is I think really needed so I am glad Tara as a reader yourself you knew that there needed to be ‘more’ for the story to really get the ending it deserves.

    Interesting about Carrick entering the political arena I think this will bring a huge myriad of questions as Carrick seems that he is all about being honest, but it’s always interesting hoe even the most noble of people who enter politics end up compromising their own integrity and beliefs. Though having said that politics is a dirty world but maybe someone like Carrick can show that there is indeed justice for everyone? I hope between Christian and Carrick this isn’t about revenge formthe Grey family but justice for everyone who was killed wronglfully and also the Grey family not because they are prominent but because even with their prominence their calls for help went unknown by a corrupt justice system. While there are few and far between honest politicians there are a few an hopefully Carrick can be that voice that helps those who don’t have one. It will be hard going giving that he just survived what could have been his own death in having cancer but I hope that while he’s helping everyone he doesn’t forget the people who need him most like his family and particularly his teenage daughter. Unfortunately, I predict issues for poor Mia because this job will take away her need right now for parental support and giving that he’s running for politics again as someone else mentioned the ‘Grey kids’ have to be a certain way and I can see Grace just absolutely annoying the fuck out of me as she enter the role of Seattle’s First Lady being at charity openings and all that comes with being a wife of a man in politics, while Mia needs both her parents to help get her through what she went through. As we never really got into what kind of help treatment Mia received after it was found she had been self harming. I see this role for Carrick as the proverbial nightmare as Ana mentions that so many of the players who helped Linc got off. Love or hate people like Elena the prison guards that were never investigated and all the other police officers and detectives who were never questioned or tried for their crimes I think while Carricks’s intentions are great this kind is systematic corruption is a pandemic in itself and one man isn’t going to just fix it. Though I did note that if he get in and we all, know he will, that he will be able to pick people who he knows he can trust like the Police Commissioner etc.

    I knew that fire was a part of Linc again trying to kill off loose ends. Linc was evil to the end and as as Elena said nothing would stop him even death, you got to wonder about the mental health of someone that does this kind of thing and the people who are willing to help him and I assume not all helped because he had some dirt on them. It really is quite freaky when you thing that if you seek help especially if it is a criminal nature who really are these people. Like who can you ever trust? Once these types of professions were considered noble and even though you didn’t get paid a bucket load you did it because you wanted to help people seek justice not pay for your next holiday in Thailand!

    I think as much as Elliot can be a bit of goofball, I think he realised that in the end if Kate was still willing to be with him on his terms he realised that if marriage is what she needed to feel secure in their relationship then he to could compromise. After all marriage, relationships in general are about comprise regardless. I think the fact he had no idea she was pregnant and obviously Ana didn’t know it was a big surprise to all and he still wanted to marry her. For once, I am going to put this down to a happy moment and not insecurities etc. I can see how the conversation leading up towards the flash mob between Ana and Kate may seem different I think Kate was just having a bitch after all it was their anniversary and he leaves, let’s face it unless Elliot was on standby to perform a life saving heart transplant I don’t think there is not a partner especially a woman who who wouldn’t t be upset that her partner leaves pretty much at the beginning of their anniversary dinner. This may be fiction it most of us would be annoyed too.Like she may have given up Carter who wanted to marry her and have kids with her but if it’s for the wrong reasons which I think Kate realised it was whether or not Carter was a good guy is irrelevant , if you had to choose the love of your life over relationship that really was a friendship with just sex I think most people if they were serious about love would choose love, it’s a piece of paper after all and I know for some that equals security but if divorce statistics are anything g to go by…… I think Elliot’s original reasons for not wanting kids and marriage were sound but we are all allowed to change our minds even Elliot! Though at one point I didn’t think Elliot treated Kate very nice after all he was already hooking up with other girls almost I’m ediatley and had Gia around to meet his family before Kate and him divided their life up from one another. I kind of did want If Carter was a good guy to give Kate if she loved him everything she thought being in long term committed relationship ends up in. I thought Elliot acted like a dickhead at the time and not just because Gia was a bitch at that point we knew nothing of Gia’s involvement even for those that had thought she might of been and the end of the day Elliot choose to be with her and ignore that she was practically drooling at Christian and he chooses to ignore it, that’s all on Elliot as far as I am concerned.
    But back to Elliot and Katemtheh are gregarious people and this is exactly the type of proposal Elliot would do and Kate would love. They both love being the centre of attention which is why they are perfect for one another. They are not like Ana and Christian who would rather be private and share where necessary. I say good luck to them and who says the path to true love is always an easy one. After all look at Ana and Christian if you need reference material.

    But well done Tara, I know you need to decompress I can imagine writing such an interesting story with intriguing characters and an amazing plot line to boot you probably need a holiday and a huge cocktail ot two. I for one cannot express my gratitude that you have indeed decided to give us another book and while February does seem like an eternity I am hoping ‘wink ‘wink’ your regular need to want to give us outtakes for this story as we gear up for the next instalmment of this wonderful book.

    I didn’t really say too much before but I think your original story you have planned will be a winner if your writing here is anything to go by then it’s a given. I really think if anyone out there in la la land knows of how the publishing world works your original story could indeed be the next fifty shades phonomena. I never knew really much about fanfic and didn’t even read any until way after the three books were published. In fact I was very late to the fifty shades party but once I got to that party I didn’t want it to end and you have been one of the few writers who have managed to really reimagine the books and make me want more. I think weirdly fifty shades will always continue to be in my heart and I enjoy the reinterpretations of E.L.James work but if there is one thing I have also realised that the very few who have managed to reinvent their own version and make it imo where it was better then the original and you are one of those writers who I think surpassed E.L. James. Again E.L. James was amazing and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her wonderful stories but some writers like yourself managed to give us a bit ‘more’ a d you have done that in spades. It has always made me think that this person can write and I’d love to see them write something original and see where it takes them and ultimately get published because most of the fanfic writers, wrote because they love the genre because they loved it and wanted to put their spin on it and we all love reading it. There will always be a market for new fifty shades reinterpretations, but it would be nice to see someone like yourself Tara actually get recognised for your brilliant writing skills and ability to keep an audience on tender hooks like you have done. Well done and I wait with baited breath for whatever is next to come! As much as I can see book 5,6,7…..I can also see a great piece of original work written by you and I wish you all the best, sounds like I am leaving, well I am not but I think it is important give credit where it is due and you said you finally feel like you have the confidence to write something of your own and I thoutghly endorse that decision. I am glad you have the confidence but mostly you have what it takes to make it something!

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      1. You’ll never disappoint us, your writing is too good for that. I have a question, will book 4 be as angsty as book 3 or would there be more family interaction, since they were able to get more unified as a family during book 3 and I loved that, going out in Christian’s yacht, jet skiing, singing to Foreigner, swimming, having family time. Thank you Tara for a job well done, can’t wait for the outtakes and for book 4.

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      2. No thank you for really putting your heart and soul into this!

        I think as reader yourself you knew for the three books to have clarity a fourth had to be done to really give closure to this amazing story. Not because you have everyone pestering you to just keep going for the sake of it but because even you realised in the end it came so quickly with so many things happening at once which opened more questions rather then answers.

        In your fire side chats you opened up about how you began to plot the original book which took you three months. So many fanfic writers and I am not knocking them write some interesting plotlines however, they usually think they can write a decent story in twenty chapters and then an eplilogue to tie inthe whole story with completely absurd plot lines and my pet hate bad grammar and spelling. This story however, shows dedication even though it was sad watching Ana and Christian apart for two years it needed to happen.

        Not only do you write so well in my opinion publishable well it takes time and you do this for free with your own real life commitments too. As much as we all want February to roll around the fact is it takes time for
        a good writer make a story come alive.
        I take my hat off to anyone who takes the time even the stories which are not as good as yours but the fact that you write so well the wait is worth it. I think this Last instalment will help you to move into writing your own story because you have really shown a professionalism not seen in a lot of fanfics. While we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for E.L. James you Tara have reimagined the fifty shades story with a certain realism which was lacking for me in the original. The originals while great skimmed over how bad Elena treated Christian from physical but emotional abuse. It may have taken a bit for Christian and Ana to get where they are but it was worth it. Not that I love drama but I’d rather see it done in a way which is believable and not this nambi bambi type drama. I along with everyone I am sure are grateful to not only this story but the effort you take in maintaining the blog which is very professional. It’s a dream to read!

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  15. Wow, what a terrific ending (beginning) to this chapter of their lives. What a roller coaster! And the lemon was real nice. 😎 🍋🍋

    Thanks to you, Tara for your dedication and superb talent, it’s been such a great experience getting to know you and this fan base you have helped create.

    Looking forward to more, regardless of the topic or storyline; you have created a forever fan in this gal. ❤️❤️❤️

    Until the next Fireside Chat or Outtake. 😘

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  16. Thank you very much for a well written spin off fifty shades that is even better than the original. Thanks to EL James for starting it because I have read many versions since then but I do like better ones including yours. I do appreciate all the time writers spend in their stories and never gets paid for them. Yes, you should consider writing original stories and good luck for future success although you are already one after these series and more after another book is written. Since book 4 we will see politics incorporated to the story, will it have a similar flavor like the original book you are planning to write. Maybe not, just came to thinking while writing this. Outtakes will satisfy my appetite until February. Real love wins. Enjoy the holiday season!

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  17. I really enjoyed this book like all the others you have written but I think you are 100% correct. I feel like tons of things are left unsaid and I feel imcomplete if that was truly the end of your masterpiece. I need to hear how Ana is going to overcome her fear and emotions about Escala and the whole episode with everyone she loves getting shot. I also need some Happily ever after and fluff. Maybe another Grey family vacation? I don’t know but I can’t wait for Feb and to also read your original. Great Job but I won’t be looking forward to Monday’s nearly as much as I was before.

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  18. Great chapter. I’m glad all seems calmer. I love the fact that Elliott woke up to his true feelings. Carrick for mayor I didn’t see coming but love the idea. I’m so glad there’s part 4 so the end isn’t so abrupt and we’ll get a lot more. Can’t wait. Wonderful work as always.
    Thank you.

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  19. Didn’t expect this ending,nonetheless it was an interesting read! So many loose ends to tie up in book 4! looking forward to the outtakes! Thank you for a great book what a ride!!

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  20. As all of your fans have previously stated. Thanks so much for all you have given us. An extremely talented writer, full of love and compassion for her readers. The list could go on and on. I think you gets my meaning. This journey has been a master peace. Trully one that I have loved, enjoyed and would willing go again without a second doubt.

    I agree with Christian, Ana still needs individual counseling with Flynn or anyone else of her choosing. Just to help her deals with those demons that appears she’s so desperately trying to forget.

    Carrick running for Mayor….that was a shocker for me. Considering his medical history. I can definitely understand the why. Just hoping that Christian isn’t making a decision based on his personal needs and wants.

    Mia-I would love to read the additional care that Mia has gotten beside a supporting family. I also believes Mia got lost somewhere. How and why still unclear. It’s not uncommon for Mia being spoil but a brat with bad intentions makes me think why?

    I think everyone’s knows that I have always been a Kate and Elliott huge fans. Thanks so much for giving me their unite front in this chapter. I was emotional right along with Kate. I always knew that they loved each other. I also understood that Elliott had the weight on the world with his family on his shoulder. He needed a break. I understood the conservation completely between Ana and Kate regarding Carter. You simply can’t choose who you fall in love with. We see it everyday in the real world. Now marriage has completely lost it value. Enought said.

    Again thank you Tara. I have two other writers that I followed and enjoy. Very similar- talanted. You three are awesome and I would read or buy anything that has your names attached to it.

    Looking forward to the outtakes, Fourth books or anything you decides to grace us with.

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  21. That was an awesome chapter with an unexpected proposal! I can’t wait for 4 and looking forward for the outtakes. Thank you for sharing your talent! 😁

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  22. NOTE — the following post contains spoilers for “Darker” by EL James. Arguably, it is hard to spoil anything that is the equivalent of the same story from the other partner’s POV, but I figured I would at least tag this with “spoiler” for those that haven’t gotten or finished the book yet.

    I just HAD to post after “Darker” because it is like EL James has tried to provide more INSIGHT into Christian/Ana that REALLY really reminds me of multiple things in Tara’s versions, PARTICULARLY this book. Seriously, at points in “Darker,” I couldn’t help but wonder if EL James had snuck some peaks at Tara’s stuff!

    (By giving us OUTTAKES, Tara has always helped us KNOW what motivated characters to do what they did. EL James was far more open-ended. She seemingly originally presented Elena as a character that supposedly “cared” for Christian, but HERE in “Darker,” you FINALLY get her showing glimmers of actual ABUSE by Elena to Christian and HOW that abuse seemingly fed directly into Christian’s previous horrific abusive early childhood. Elena “disciplines” Christian by leaving welts on his back, which Christian fails to see are JUST like the pimp. It is meant to control, not give pleasure or help to Christian. And Christian is so “used” to discipline being “harsh” from his early childhood that he never realizes the significance of the abuse. AND we learn that Elena was ALSO worried about Christian taking up with some college girl at Harvard, just as she was in Tara’s ADSOF. And you hear from Grace that she had confided in Elena about Christian’s early upbringing, giving Elena knowledge that she clearly later exploited. So EL James basically lets the reader come to the conclusion that the Elena/Christian relationship wasn’t nearly as “healthy” and “helpful” for Christian as he was led to believe and that it seemingly DID lead to a barrier of sorts between Christian and his family.)

    We ALSO see an appearance by “Linc” in this one, as he is in the elevator at the Mile High Club with Christian and Ana. So seemingly after not having contact with Linc in several years, Christian comes into contact with him, NOT realizing that Linc clearly still holds a grudge for the Elena/Christian relationship. AND you find out that Linc nearly killed Elena after finding out about the relationship originally, leaving Elena so injured that she was in the hospital for 3 MONTHS. So THAT Linc is as territorial and revenge-minded as Tara’s Andrew Lincoln, particularly as we NOW know that it is Andrew Lincoln that puts everything in motion to get ANA, as well as Christian. (After all, it is Lincoln that pays Hyde’s bail in EL James’ work, KNOWING that Hyde is going to go back after Ana, with the intent of kidnapping and raping her, and then Christian.) So Mr. Lincoln waits years for his revenge plan against Christian, but he clearly must resent Christian being happy with Ana.

    AND we learn in “Darker” that Elena is far more manipulative and in keeping with Tara’s Elena, as listed above. BOTH versions think that they have “made” Christian. Elena all but says this in one of her emails to Christian, and he correctly interrprets it as such. AND we see MORE of Elena’s manipulative and controlling tactics here that Ana was blissfully unaware of in her version.

    AND JUST LIKE in Tara’s version, WE FIND OUT THAT ELENA TRIES TO get Grace to see Ana as a probably “gold-digger” that will “just hurt” Christian after all that he has been through. AND Grace even knew Elena’s tastes ran “exotic,” as you finally get that conversation between Grace and Christian that occurred at Christian’s birthday party.

    So although ANA never knew it, Carrick and Grace were FAR more suspicious and worried about the relationship, with Grace taking Christian aside to talk to him in the SAME way as Carrick does in Tara’s ADSOF. AND ELENA was feeding into this from behind the scenes. But Christian FAILS to see the significance here of what Elena is doing. He just “assumes” that Elena has his “best interests” at heart, same as Tara’s Christian, rather than what she is REALLY doing, which is trying to undermine the relationship. AND using Christian’s own family to do it.

    At any rate, I felt EL James finally came around to trying to show Elena as FAR less healthy on Christian than originally was seemingly presented in her works AND in keeping with showing Elena as the truly manipulative and horrible person that she ACTUALLY was, who was willing to try to use her “friendship” with Grace to further manipulate and pressure Christian to give up Ana or risk a rift with his family. AND we finally get to see that GRACE realized the FULL nature of the abuse and the implications to Christian that we see more openly acknowledged (and better defined, quite frankly) in all of Tara’s works. And as in Tara’s world, Grace then realizes JUST what Ana has done for Christian AND that it is really Ana that finally breaks Elena’s hold over Christian. I’m hoping EL James will go even further in her final Christian POV work to have Christian wake-up to the FULL nature of the abuse, as Christian did in Tara’s ABSOF and ASSOF.

    But I had to comment on how “Darker” brings the EL James’ characters FAR more into keeping with the Tara-universe characters, even to the point of having the characters do virutally the SAME things that Tara had previously had the characters do, such as Elena trying to undermine the Ana/Christian relationship by telling her “concerns” to Grace about Ana being a gold-digger. AND how Elena tries to make it clear to everyone that she supposedly knows Christian best and is entitled to confidence, time and money whenever she sees fit AND that she sees herself as the woman behind the man.

    Can’t wait to see what Tara makes of “Darker” and how EL James’ Elena is now FAR more like her Elena then previously presented!

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      1. Can’t wait for your comments on “Darker.” You’ll see why, especially, after you read it!

        Yeah, I worried about Amazon, so I just decided to go directly to my local bookstore as soon as I could get there after it opened. AND good thing I did, since they had only ordered THREE copies of the thing. But Wal-Mart also carries it, and Books-A-Million usually offers discounts for a new release. So if you don’t want to wait on Amazon, you have options!

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      2. Just realize that once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down. I read the whole 546 pages as soon as I got off work, which meant that I am only running on 2 hours of sleep today! But TOTALLY worth it!!

        (Which, by the by, I have NOT done since discovering your ADSOF, shortly after you had begun ABSOF. So I stayed up ALL NIGHT at the office reading ADSOF in one sitting on my computer, since I didn’t have internet access at home!)

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  23. Now that was one hell of a surprise that Elliott pulled off after leaving Kate at the restaurant totally pissed off. But now she will have everything she ever want with Elliott. And what a way to tell Elliott that she was pregnant to boot! Love it.

    So Carrick is going to run for mayor. Hopefully no one tries to do anything shady to him since he as well is just getting back on his feet after his own health problems. Although we would all like to see the corruption and all the bad guys taken down? We will have to wait and see what happens in the next book. 🙂

    Happy Holidays to you and your family as we all look forward to next year. All the best.

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    1. ON THE SURFACE, everything seems to be coming together nicely for everyone. But again, surface-appearances can be deceiving.

      I’m hoping Elliot did the marriage proposal for all the RIGHT reasons rather than because he feared he was losing Kate again. BUT I got why Kate interrupted the proposal to tell Elliot BEFORE she said yes so that he could withdraw said proposal if he didn’t want kids. But since the proposal was so PUBLIC, Elliot may have chosen to go through the motions rather than REALLY mean it. He seemed to be panicking. I just don’t know, based on what we have now. I’m HOPING we get Outtakes for BOTH Elliot and Kate regarding this chapter. We just have to wait and see.

      I’m naturally worried and cautious about Carrick’s intentions for political office. AGAIN, like Elliot, do we have someone doing this for the RIGHT reasons? I mean, he wants to put in his OWN people, and are THOSE people REALLY motivated to do the right thing or just get power and prestige? AND Carrick may come in to the office wanting to end corruption, but his job as mayor is about FAR more than JUST corruption and police power.

      PLUS, Carrick’s political aspirations, Christian’s need for revenge (which has NOT worked well for ANYONE in Tara-verse by the by), AND Elliot’s and Kate’s situation means that MIA’S issues may, once again, be overlooked. We SAW how pressure to be “the perfect Grey kid” was hard on Mia BEFORE she ever fell prey to Elena’s machinations. NOW she has had SO MUCH more trauma and has added UNHEALTHY habits of drinking and cutting herself to cope rather than getting help for her issues.

      So Mia AND Ana have underlying trauma-related issues that have NOT yet been adequately dealt with. And once again, OTHER issues are more immediate and time-consuming up front. BUT TARA has promised that Book 4 is “less angsty” than this one, so that bodes well for ALL the women hopefully getting help for dealing with the issues presented earlier.

      But there are DEFINITELY a lot of issues for Tara to get to tackle for Book 4, which is why I’m so excited that we ARE getting a book 4!!!! I figured she would have to do about 30 or so Future Takes otherwise JUST to cover how all the characters handled things moving forward, PARTICULARLY in seeing how Mia finishes growing up AND Calliope!!!! (AND any OTHER Grey kids to follow!)

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    1. I’m thinking Kate and Elliot’s situation WILL probably bring up the issue of whether or not Calliope is an only child for Ana and Christian.

      But eclampsia nearly killed Ana, and it took them so long to find the internal bleeding, etc. No one seemed to question at the time what this would do about having more children. I can’t see Christian wanting to risk Ana’s life again, no matter how much he wanted another child. I mean, the health risks are staggering, since they can’t know until the pregnancy about the full risks to Ana about carrying a child to full-term. After everything they have been through, I can’t see Christian looking kindly at ANY situation that would almost guarantee another brush with death for Ana. (HOWEVER, as both Kate AND Ana have experienced, there is NO birth control out there that is 100%, and accidental pregnancies can happen.)

      AND there are OTHER possibilities for Christian and Ana for more children, such as adoption. Or even having a surrogate carry their child, although that can come with a LOT of risks and problems. But I DO think Ana and Christian will be motivated to talk about this.

      AND Christian and his siblings were adopted. So he may want to do the same thing for another child. But the “more children” issue will undoubtedly come up for them in Book 4.

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      1. (And oh, that’s a funny thought. Suppose Christian and Ana DO want to go for adoption. AND then get a call from a social worker that has to come a do a Home Study on their home to get them approved. And say said home had a Red Room! I can just see Christian ordering security in for a sweep of all “toys” and floggers and other stuff so that the Red Room can look just like a “guest room” rather than what it actually is! And maybe the social worker seeing a riding crop that got accidentally left behind and asking who rides horses!)

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  24. When you answered that ‘this chapter takes place in October and book 4 starts in February’. You said that you’ll start publishing in February, that part I understand, my question is, will the story per se start in February too?

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      1. OOOO—what a time to begin! But that should be VERY interesting to see how the various characters celebrate said day. (I mean, we have past Valentine’s Day issues that Christian will undoubtedly want to make up for Ana, AND we get to see if Elliot and Kate have resolved their issues or not. I mean, if Elliot tries working, then you KNOW Kate would put in a call to Ana, eliciting grumblings from Christian! AND if ANYONE again interrupts Christian’s intentions towards Ana regarding a kitchen counter, it could get dicey!!! heeheehee!)

        So what a perfect time to pick up with the characters to see where they are in their lives AND how they are coping and trying to preserve the romance!

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  25. I just caught Tara’s comment about this book basically ending in October, with the new book opening with a time-jump of four months. Thus, the election will have already happened, with Carrick taking office in January, assuming he wins the election.

    AND that will mean that Kate is farther along in the pregnancy. Like others, I’m interested to see how the Kate/Elliot relationship pans out. Here in THIS chapter, you REALLY wonder what Elliot is thinking. WHY did he propose? What was his TRUE motivation? After all, Elliot MAY have just proposed to Kate because he thinks he “owes” it to her to give her something that she wants. AND Elliot may have been hoping that a marriage would make Kate happy AND keep her from wanting still move, such as having a baby.

    After all, there is NO birth control out there that is 100%. I do NOT think Kate got intentionally pregnant. BUT she and Elliot are sometimes WAY too into the “fun” life, and we saw (or heard, more accurately) that they had drunken reunion sex in Vegas. And I seriously doubt Elliot remembered the condom then!

    But Elliot has had to really re-think everything, given ALL that he saw Kate sacrifice for him. AND, let’s face it, what Carter did in Georgia may have had an IMPACT on Elliot. Elliot may have begun to doubt about being the better man, since Carter was willing to hand Kate her dreams on a silver platter.

    So Elliot may have re-thought marriage, not because he changed his personal beliefs, but because he felt Kate “deserved” this. AND he realized that NOT having the ring might make Kate, even unconsciously, start to realize that their relationship was “lacking” in the serious committment area. Leaving Kate free to “keep her options open.”

    So marriage shows that Elliot is WILLING to compromise and attempt to give Kate HER dreams. AND hopefully giving into the marriage issue would negate the Kids issue.

    But Elliot has ALWAYS been about “family first.” AND finding out about the baby means that Elliot would NEVER walk away from his child, if Kate chose to have it. AND I think Elliot knows what an abortion would do to Kate. SO the child is a reality that Elliot HAS to accept. Because Elliot is NOT the dead-beat kind of person who would walk away from his child, whether he wanted it or not.

    But Elliot is CLEARLY panicking. It will be interesting to see this dynamic moving forwards. Because is Elliot REALLY changing his mind or just going through the motions? Did Elliot see a Marriage Proposal as a means of getting Kate happy with him again because he felt that he was going to lose her otherwise?

    Because I think Elliot WAS fixing to lose Kate again. I don’t think Kate would be able to go through with an abortion, but knowing Elliot’s take on kids, it meant an almost-certain break-up with Elliot was coming, in Kate’s mind, due to the baby. AND Kate thought Elliot ALREADY didn’t put in enough time on THEIR relationship, so he wouldn’t be there for his family ANYWAY.

    I think Elliot HAD come to peace with himself about the marriage issue. It was something he was willing to do for Kate in the long-run because she had done SO MUCH for him and his family. He KNEW Kate was committed to him and in love with him. AND he didn’t want Kate to have regrets about choosing him over Carter, who WAS willing to make Kate’s dreams come true.

    But like Christian in the original EL James’ works, a child would NOT be coming anytime soon, especially so soon into the marriage/relationship. HERE, though, Elliot and Kate ALREADY have issues with expectations regarding the relationship and the PRIORITIES that each person should make in regards to together-time and career-time. Now ADD that to a baby. Elliot was put on the spot about finding out about the baby at the absolute WORST time, with EVERYONE looking on. Whether or not Elliot is RESENTFUL of the baby moving forward remains to be seen.

    HOWEVER, whether he wanted to be a father or not, I can’t imagine Elliot EVER abandoning his kid. He is too family-oriented. And while Elliot might want to ask Kate to consider an abortion, he KNOWS Kate wanted a child eventually and that an abortion would NOT likely be something Kate could go through with. But this is clearly A LOT for Elliot to deal with emotionally, PARTICULARLY right now. AND the pressure is now on to prepare for the wedding, moving and having a baby.

    (AND I can’t help but compare Elliot and Kate to Christian and Ana. There was NEVER any doubt, in my mind, that CHristian would do WHATEVER it took to keep Ana. While he was clearly shocked and apprehensive about the baby, I think Christian immediately realized that the baby meant that he and Ana would be a FAMILY. And Christian realized he VERY much wanted that AND everything that came with it. He never doubted being married to Ana. He WANTED to be married to Ana, and the pregnancy automatically was to Christian a way of binding Ana to him further. Even ANA picked up on the fact that Christian had hoped she would simply drop everything and come home with him right then, marrying him the next day. AND he would then have everything he wanted without having to wait for it. And Ana admitting how much she wanted the baby just cemented his idea of the perfect life. NOT so for Elliot and Kate, in my opinion. Elliot seems FAR more like Christian in EL James’ version in seeing a child as the means to an end to the life that he wanted and was planning for himself and Kate. Whether or not Elliot is REALLY happy about ANY of this or just going through the motions remains to be seen. Kate was Elliot’s ticket to fun, NOT increased responsibility and delayed gratification, due to a baby’s presence in their lives at a time when he wants just work and fun. Elliot has also NOT learned to delegate the way Christian has. It seems like FAR more needs to be resolved for Kate and Elliot than for Christian and Ana, at least at this point.)

    I DEFINITELY can’t help but want OUTTAKES for both Kate AND Elliot in regards to what happened in this chapter. I’m HOPING that Elliot really DID do this proposal for ALL the right reasons and NOT just in reaction to Carter OR the feeling that he might have been about to lose Kate. An OUTTAKE could provide REAL insight. (HOWEVER, I can see Tara maybe being reluctant to do an Outtake here, as it would provide some answers to questions that are clearly going to be handled in Book 4. STILL, we would be able to see what Kate and Elliot feel IN THE MOMENT and whether or not four months has changed their opinions at the beginning of Book 4.)

    Obviously, it will be an ISSUE in Book 4 about the motivations for the marriage AND the TRUE commitment of both Kate and Elliot to their relationship and starting a family. AND we will get a time-jump and see where Elliot is in regards to dealing with the child with Kate halfway through her pregnancy.

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  26. Great story, Tara! And I’m so glad there will be another book to tie up the loose ends.

    I had considered the possibility of Kate getting pregnant when they first got back together, but had dismissed it as months went by. I loved Elliot’s proposal. I didn’t think he could be that thoughtful or plan something that elaborate. And when he said “I asked you a question, Katie, and you haven’t answered me,” I just melted! And then I turned the page and that was the end. Definitely need more.

    No doubt a lot of questions will be answered by the outtakes, but we still need to see Ana “climb another mountain” and return to Escala, and hopefully, write another book. Will she go back to Grey Publishing? Will Carrick be able to root out the corrupt cops and city officials without ruining Christian’s reputation?

    Anxiously awaiting all you share with us. Thank you again for giving so many of us a reason to look forward to Mondays.

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  27. “I believe that life is chaotic, a jumble of accidents, ambitions, misconceptions, bold intentions, lazy happenstances, and unintended consequences, yet I also believe that there are connections that illuminate our world, revealing its endless mystery and wonder.”
    ~David Maraniss

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  28. Hey, just wondering where we need to leave the Outtakes requests now as I definitely would want to add seeing an Outtake of this chapter from MULTIPLE other viewpoints, such as Kate’s and Elliot’s. Maybe even Christian’s or the other Grey family members.

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      1. Yep, the proposal chapter. (I remembered your previous comment that you wanted to do an Outtake from Kate’s point of view, and this one would definitely be one to hear Kate’s inner monologue! And Elliot’s, for that matter.)

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  29. Hey 🙂 I’ve read your trilogy a couple of times and I know that this is the best fanfiction I’ve ever read. You have an amazing gift of bringing your characters to life and making your readers fall in love with them. I’m currently re-reading Fifty Shades Freed (as a preparation for the movie premiere) and I’ve been having this odd feeling since I started. I couldn’t figure out why it was impossible for me to get into it. I’ve just realized it. The reason why I found Ana and Christian so weird in the original book is that I like those created by you so much more. They are more natural and likable in your stories and I just wanted to thank you. Thank you for writing something that brings me so much joy. I’m looking forward to your next update. Greetings from Poland, Magda 🙂

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  30. So I just found this story and read all 3 books in the span of a few days. I am so grateful to you for writing this amazing story and even more delighted to read there will be another final book. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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  31. This is the third time I’ve read this. When you started posting the other POV’s I got so excited. It meant that Book 4 was on it’s way lol. You have done such an amazing job with this story and I know you won’t disappoint with the next one. What can we expect from our fav couple? Can you tell us anything at all? I literally can’t wait. What’s the expected date for Book 4? (Screaming with excitement inside)

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    1. Chapter 1 of Book Four will be posted on April 9th. The Final Shade of Fifty is about Ana trying to move on and feel safe after what happened in Stronger all while being a loving wife, caring mother, and powerhouse in a brand new career.

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  32. I enjoyed reading your story you took me into another world.
    You took this story line and made it your own. The way you able to make each character and twist this story line the way you did was creative. You had me enjoying this experience. You made me cry, laugh, feel, excitement, joy, sadness, depression, jealous, anger, disappointment, hate, love, desire, strength, weakness, lust, passion, loyalty, family, friend, lover, child, death, loneliness, lost, happiness, greed, betrailed, money, luxury, home, items, tears, smiles, hope, dreams, wishes, believing, prayer, trust, inticipate, hopeless, lied protection, murder separation friendship, parties, drinking, scared and afraid.

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  33. Omg I love this story so freaking much!!!!!! Unbelievable. I couldn’t stop reading… believe me I had times at work where I was so distracted ready chapters, lol. I was recommended this story by another author. She wrote in her comments to check this out, I am so glad I read the comment! I hardly ever read them. Publish this, please! You have to!!! This is fantastic. You’re a great writer.

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