Fifty Shades Of Grey: My Years With Elena *Warning - Explicit Content*

**NUMBER ONE MOST POPULAR MOVELLA IN FILM AND TV FANFICTION SINCE OCTOBER 2014!! **

'Picture this, an adolescent boy looking to earn some extra money so he can continue his secret drinking habit. So, I was in the backyard at the Lincolns', clearing some rubble and trash from the extension Mr. Lincoln had just added to their place. Elena - Mrs. Lincoln appeared out of nowhere and brought me some lemonade. I made some smart-ass remark...and she slapped me. She slapped me so hard. She then seduced me and I became her submissive for six years.'

And this is my account of what happened.

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40. CHAPTER FORTY

Thursday November 10 2005

 

"I still don't get why you need all this space just for you, bro."

"It's not JUST for me. Taylor moves in next week too."

And Victoria will also be staying most weekends...

"Taylor's going to be living with you?" He asks gaping in shock.

I frown at him. "He's my assistant, bodyguard and driver - and he heads my security team under Welch. It makes sense to have him on site twenty-four-seven."

"I just didn't realise he was g..." Elliot stops mid-sentence his face reddening.

Ohhh...So that's where he's going with this...

I clear my throat to break the embarrassing silence. "I've allocated the four rooms to the west of the penthouse to him. He has an office, a bedroom, a large open plan living room with a kitchenette and dining area and a smaller bedroom for when Sophie stays over."

"Sophie?" Elliot asks in confusion.

"Taylor has a little girl he dotes on. Dad's helping him with his divorce proceedings. Sophie lives mainly with his ex-wife but Dads working on getting him regular weekend access with her."

Elliot nods and takes another sip of his beer. "So - you unpacked all your stuff yet?" He asks obviously eager to change the subject.

"Yes. I had a team of people who did it all. I just supervised."

Elliot shakes his head and chuckles. "Why have a dog and bark yourself, huh?"

"Absolutely." I grin. "I feel better now my new bed has arrived. Nature's Way did an amazing job with it and with kitting out the other bedrooms. Can't thank you enough for recommending them."

"Well I know what an Eco-Warrior you are so I thought they'd fit the brief."

I smile. "They did. They have also put me in touch with a pure stone company who are making my bath. They only carve from sustainable resources."

Elliot nods. "So...what are you planning for the other bedrooms? I might pop in one night when I get lucky!"

I screw my face. "As much as you are welcome to stay anytime, you will NOT be using my penthouse as some kind of banging station!"

Elliot laughs and leans against the breakfast bar. "Seriously bro...How are you going to keep this place clean though? It's HUGE."

"I plan on spending some time next week looking into getting a housekeeper. A live-in one if possible. I need someone who is also capable of cooking though. Otherwise Taylor and I will be living on junk food and take-outs!"

"Oh that'll please Bastille! You'll need more sessions to whip your asses into shape!" He laughs.

I grin wickedly. "Talking of ass-whippings - fancy a game of pool?"

Elliot's face lights up. "Your table arrived?"

"Sure did and it's a beauty! The grand piano arrives tomorrow and the rest of the furniture will..."

"Why the hell did you buy a grand piano?" Elliot interrupts.

I smirk. "Because I can. Now...pool..?"

Elliot shakes his head chuckling. "Lead the way, Donald Trump."

 

 

***********

 

 

Friday November 11 2005

 

"And what's in here?" Mia asks excitedly opening the door.

"My en-suite. The bath is arriving next week hopefully."

"You could have a party in here!"

I laugh at her innocent enthusiasm. "Sweetheart - I have a large wide open living area. I don't need to host parties in my bathroom!"

"Will you be hosting parties?" She squeaks, her huge brown eyes wide with hope.

"Not if I can help it. Mom does a much better job at that than I could ever do."

She pouts and stalks past me. "What's in here?" She asks as she opens another door.

"My closet." I sigh.

She disappears from view. "This is your closet?" She squeals in a muffled tone. "I could sleep in here!"

I walk into the closet. "I'm sure I can find you a bedroom instead." I hold out my hand. "Come - let's see which room you'd like."

She claps her hands and runs at me and I catch her, embracing her tightly.

 

We walk upstairs and she skips ahead to the first room opening the door to one of the bathrooms. "Why are all your bathrooms huge?"

"They're not huge. They're just in-keeping with the scale of the penthouse. You don't want a place this size and have to shower in a broom cupboard do you?"

She pulls the door closed and skips to the next door.

"Mia! Be care..."

She body slams into the locked playroom door before I can stop her.

"Aww! What the fuck!"

I reach her in one stride, spinning her around to face me. "Are you okay?" I ask in a panic, searching her face and scanning down her body.

"Why is that damn door locked?" She asks screwing her face in annoyance.

"STOP CUSSING! It's just a storeroom. Nothing exciting."

"So why is it locked?"

Oh Mia. Mainly to protect YOU.

I take her hand and pull her down the corridor. "It's got highly confidential files that I need to keep secure. Now open the next door."

She pushes the next door open and gasps then runs in, squealing as she spins around. I lean against the door frame grinning as I watch her joy. I have kitted the room out in various shades of pink and white as I knew this would be the perfect room for her, close by but far enough away not to hear my screams in the night. As far as she's concerned, I no longer have nightmares.

"Did you do this for me?" She asks her beautiful brown eyes shining.

"Well there's no one else in the world I'd rather have stay over - whose favourite colour is pink."

She barrels over to the white four poster bed, dives onto the pink satin and then twists towards me and holds out her arms. Beaming, I go and sit on the bed next to her and she crawls onto my lap and wraps her arms around me.

"So I can stay here whenever I want?"

I kiss the top of her head. "Within reason, Mia. It might not always be possible, but yes, this room is all yours."

She squeezes me tightly. "I have the best brother in the whole world." She whispers into my neck. I squeeze her in return then I grasp her chin and tilt her head back. "And I have the best sister." I kiss the tip of her nose. "Elliot loves you very much too - even if he doesn't always show it. You know he'd do anything for you."

She nods. "But I love you best." She whispers.

I stroke her dear face. "That's okay. I love you best too."

 

 

**********

 

 

Saturday November 12 2005

 

I travel up in the elevator, laden down with goodies from mom and Helga. Mom was worried I'd be too busy to eat whilst I got the place set up. The doors open and I walk into the lobby. I pause for a moment and look round. I'm not one for a lot of decor but the large white walls are crying out for something.

Photographs or paintings perhaps..?

I mentally add that to my To Do List as Taylor greets me.

"Can I take those for you, sir?" He smiles.

"No it's fine, Taylor thanks. How are you and Barney getting on?"

"Mr. Sullivan is working on installing the security software and linking all our laptops together in my office." He says rather tightly.

"Excellent. I'll just pop in and say hi."

I follow Taylor to his office and place my items by the door.

"Hello Barney. How's it going?"

The familiar boyish face pops up over the laptop lids. "Hey Christian! It's going well so far, thanks. I should be done within the hour."

I nod. "That's cool. Take all the time you need. Do you want me for anything?"

"A coffee would be great!" He grins.

Taylor coughs. "I'll make them." He says a little irritatedly towards Barney.

I smirk. "No it's fine, I'll get them. You'll both stay for lunch? Mom and Helga are worried we're going to starve so they've packed enough food for a month."

"That'd be great, Christian." Barney smiles. "You need some kind of housekeeper."

I sigh and rub my hand over my face. "It's top of my To Do List, believe me."

"HEY!" He suddenly exclaims standing up with a jolt, surprising both Taylor and myself. I notice Taylor's fingers automatically go towards his holster. "I might know someone!"

I gasp. "You do? Who?"

"Remember my Grammy went into residential care recently? Well she had an awesome housekeeper and mom was gutted that we had to lose her. She's a wonderful woman Christian - Grammy would have had to go into care years ago if it wasn't for all Gail's hard work."

"Do you think your mom still has her number?"

Barney grins. "Sure! They meet up every now and again for coffee and cupcakes! Gail's a great cook."

"And you think she'd be interested?" I ask not wishing to get my hopes up.

"She's got nothing else lined up as far as I know. She's gone back to Portland to visit family. I'll get her number for you."

"Brilliant Barney, thank you. I'll go make the coffees."

I turn, grab the bags and head out towards the kitchen.

If this housekeeper works out, I'm giving him a HUGE bonus...

 

 

I'm blissfully playing one of my favourite Bach pieces on my new piano. The sun has started to set and I'm delighted I know the piece by heart as I can enjoy watching the beautiful autumnal colours, play out from one of the many full length windows I have in my penthouse. I'm in a really good mood thanks to finally fulfilling my dream of owning my own grand piano and an enjoyably productive morning with Barney and Taylor - despite Barney's best efforts to irritate the crap out of Jason. Barney's always been very relaxed with me due to our long history and what we've been through together since he started working for me, but Taylor comes from a totally different world and I think Barney's relaxed attitude to life is totally alien to him. However, I think by the time Barney left, Taylor had warmed to him a little.

Well...At least he didn't shoot him...

 

"Sir, Mrs. Lincoln and a gentleman are on their way up."

My eyebrows shoot up in surprise. Elena had texted earlier saying she might pop by, but made no mention of bringing anyone with her. I close the lid and rise from the piano.

"Thanks Taylor, show them in."

I make my way towards the lobby as the elevator doors slide open.

Elena emerges from the lift looking as casually elegant as ever in a fitted black dress and faux fur jacket and to my surprise Alan follows her out carrying a couple of large rectangular boxes.

"Hello, Christian." Elena beams at me then turns to Taylor. "Taylor would you mind grabbing the other two boxes in the elevator please?"

"Of course, ma'am."

I kiss both her cheeks. "Elena..?"

I'm so confused right now...

"I hope you don't mind darling, but Alan and I brought you some housewarming gifts."

"Housewarming gifts?" I squeak.

"Hi Christian. Forgive the intrusion. Mind if we put these on the breakfast bar?" Alan asks smiling at me.

I blink rapidly and step aside. "Of course, please."

Alan and Taylor walk past Elena and I as she slips her hand through the crook of my arm. "The place looks amazing darling. You must be delighted."

I beam at her. "I am. I've coveted one of these penthouses for so long, I can't actually believe I finally own one."

Elena squeezes my arm. "No one deserves it more. Now come open your gifts."

I have to admit I'm a little excited now. I don't often receive gifts and to have to open four large boxes almost has me skipping about. I grab a kitchen knife and open the fridge door. "Help yourselves to drinks. Glasses are in this cupboard," I add opening a door.

Elena grabs a bottle of chilled Sancerre and begins to pour it into glasses as I carefully begin to cut through the packaging.

"How are the plans for your playroom coming along?" Alan asks after taking a sip of wine.

Despite the fact that I still feel uneasy about his relationship with Elena, he is a very charming, intelligent man, who has been nothing but courteous and helpful towards me. I can't help but like him.

"Good, I hope. The team you recommended arrive tomorrow to kit it all out. I paid extra to have it done on a Sunday. Taylor is out with his daughter for the day, so it will just be me and them."

Alan nods. "Excellent. They did a brilliant job with my dungeon. They are very efficient and discreet. I'm around tomorrow so if you need any advice or anything, just call."

"Thanks Alan I really appreciate that."

I finally tear through the packing and let out a loud gasp.

HOLY CRAP!

Staring serenely at me is a beautiful painting of the Madonna and child - very similar to the paintings I'd seen in the Cathedral in Malta all those years ago. It's stunning.

"Oh...oh...gosh guys. That's so beautiful." I breathe.

Elena squeezes my arm. "I remember in Malta how you said they made you feel peaceful and I thought with so many empty walls..."

"Wait...there are three more boxes to open?" I ask, stunned by such a huge gesture.

"With such a large space, four is a good number to start with," Alan explains. "You can display them together, have them in pairs or individually. They're all variations of the same theme. Elena said you'd like them."

OH. MY. GOD.

It's not often I'm lost for words. I was thinking more along the lines of a kettle or toaster - but four paintings?

Elena brushes her fingers against my hand as she passes me a glass goblet full of wine. "It's okay darling. I know how hard you are on yourself...but please accept these with our best wishes for the future."

I take a deep breath and a long slug of wine. "I...I genuinely don't know what to say. Thank you just doesn't seem enough."

"It's a pleasure Christian I was happy to fulfil Elena's commission for the pieces. Open the others and see what you think. I can come another day - when you have had time to digest - with one of my professional frame hangers and we can play around with places and arrangements before you make a final decision."

"I'd...I'd really appreciate that, Alan. Thank you."

"No problem. Just text me a time when you're free and we'll arrange something." He puts his glass down. "May I use ONE of your bathrooms?" He asks with a grin.

I grin back. "Sure. Follow the room round, there's one just through there."

Alan wanders off and I pick up another box. "I can't believe you remembered." I say softly.

Elena squeezes my arm. "I remember everything, darling. You'll always be very special to me."

"And you'll always be the dearest of friends, Elena."

Her soft features alter slightly and that odd look I've noticed before reappears briefly. She takes a sip of wine. "How are things going with Victoria? I did her waxing last week. She seems very nice."

I nod. "Yeah, she's great. I couldn't ask for a better Sub. Once I got this place I was planning on getting her to stay over on the weekends in one of the guest bedrooms, but..."

I sigh and stop opening the box to run my hand through my hair and take a slug of wine.

"But what, darling?" She whispers and her features are back to being soft and warm again.

"It's just...lately she keeps saying how she'd like to spend more time with me and wants our arrangement to be more than just fucking. She's started talking about us becoming...a couple."

Elena's eyebrows shoot up in surprise. "Really? Wow. But Christian, surely you can see why she'd want to get more involved with you. You're quite a catch."

I shake my head. "What kind of boyfriend would I be? I don't know how to be romantic. I only know how to fuck."

"Then talk to her and tell her it's not going to happen. If she doesn't like it, then end the arrangement. There are plenty of other Subs out there."

I frown. "That's pretty cold, Elena. Victoria's a great girl and an amazing Sub. I don't want to just throw her out on a limb after four months."

"But stringing her along knowing you can't be what she wants is kinder?"

I screw my face and run my hand through my hair again. "I guess not." I take a sip of wine. "Thanks Elena. I'll talk to her. You're right."

She smiles benevolently. "I always am."

 

 

**********

 

 

Sunday November 13 2005

 

It's done. It's actually fucking done.

I have my own playroom.

I stand in the middle of the room and look around in barely contained excitement. The team did a great job of fitting it all out to my specifications, but it looks way better than I ever could have anticipated. Nature's Way had already fitted a weathered wooden floor and assembled a beautifully restored Edwardian four poster bed that Flynn had found online after I'd mentioned I was looking for one. That meant Boudoirs and Dungeons were able to fit everything in around it. The suspended ceiling grid looks erotically ominous - especially as it's directly above my prize possession; my mahogany bondage cross with wrist and ankle restraints. I pad over to it and lovingly run my fingers over the highly polished surface.

I'm going to have some fun with Victoria on this...

Victoria. Damn. What am I going to do about her? I wonder idly over to the wooden implement racks and my matching antique mahogany chest of drawers. I purchased a number of items specifically for Mon Petite Bijou and now I don't know if I'll even get to use them on her. My earlier happier mood has now plummeted and I suddenly feel tired. Really, really tired. I pad back over to the bed, lie down and stare at the ceiling.

It had all been going so well. Victoria had been stunned when I asked her if she would be willing to be my own personal Sub, but not as shocked as Angy was when I handed over two hundred thousand dollars of compensation to take her away from the club. I set Victoria up in an apartment in a nicer part of town and she even found a job as a sales assistant in a little boutique not far from The Esclava. Her natural style and Gallic flair have made her a big hit with the clientele. She has come on in leaps and bounds in the four months - regular gym sessions to build up her stamina and weekly beauty treatments under Elena's capable hands - all of which have literally transformed her. I'm so happy with our arrangement as it is, so why does she want to change it?

'But Christian, surely you can see why she'd want to get more involved with you. You're quite a catch.'

No I'm not.

I'm fifty shades of fucked up.

Tears unexpectedly sting my eyes.

Why does everything in my life keep coming back to that?

For every ten steps forward I take, I still feel I like I take at least four back. Back to that dingy room with the damned sticky green rug. Tears are now falling unchecked, leaking out of the sides of my eyes and I can't do anything to stop them. What should be one of the happiest times of my life has yet again descended into misery.

And now I have to break up with Victoria when she hasn't done anything wrong!

How do I even do that? I've never broken up with anyone. Elena broke up with me, Scarlett and I came to a mutual conclusion and Terri was just a one-off.

Do I even WANT to break up with her?

It would mean having to start all over again and finding a new Sub I felt a connection with. That could take months of frustration and I don't know how Angy would feel about me whisking another one of her girls away.

Fuck. This is such a mess.

I swipe my tears angrily away. I need a fucking drink. I haul myself up and swing my legs over the side of the bed. I sigh deeply and close my eyes.

I need some kind of sign. Some kind of Divine Intervention to show me just what to do next. Not that He ever seems to listen to me - or He wouldn't have got her into crack and taken her away from me.

I fight the tears that threaten to start again.

But maybe He did intervene. He helped put a terrified, starving, scarred child on the pathway to meet a certain Dr. Grace Trevelyan who saved me and helped give me a life beyond my wildest dreams.

I slowly open my tired, sore eyes. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to help other kids not to go through what I did, not to have to suffer the consequences of their parents actions or to feel the desperate hunger I'd felt. I'd go a hell of a long way to prevent feeling like that ever again. And now with my charitable foundation I'm finally doing that. I stand up wearily.

Maybe God will see my good deeds, take some pity on me and show me what I'm supposed to do. But in the meantime I'm getting out of here and getting a long glass of bourbon.

Well...As Taylor isn't in tonight I may even have a bottle. At least I might get some fucking sleep...

 

**********

 

Monday November 14 2005

 

I'm in a foul mood with a pounding hangover headache. I felt so lousy that I rang Andrea and Ros and croaked a poor excuse down the phone about an upset stomach and went back to bed.

I've never feigned an illness my life. But fuck it. I am the boss after all.

Even Taylor is creeping around me. Next time I open my eyes I find a glass of fresh orange juice and two Advil on my nightstand. I gladly gulp the drink down and take the Advil. I wouldn't normally advocate greasy food but right now I seriously want a bacon sandwich. I hit the shower and start to finally feel a bit more human.

 

I slip on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt and head for Taylor's office. He immediately stands up as I enter.

"Good morning, sir. Can I get you anything?"

I shake my head. "No thank you and thanks for the Orange juice and Advil. They really helped."

"No problem sir."

"I was going to make myself a bacon sandwich - would you like one?"

Taylor flashes what looks like a brief smirk. "I didn't know you cooked..?"

"I think even I can manage to grill a few bacon rashers! So..?"

"I'll take one to go if that's okay. Mrs. Jones called to say she's managed to catch the earlier Greyhound from Portland so I'm going to meet her. ETA around forty minutes."

Shit! I'd totally forgotten about her coming for an interview today!

Taylor clocks my crestfallen face. "Sir...I'm sorry...I didn't want to reschedule when you keep saying how badly we need a housekeeper. I thought if you were indisposed, I could at least show her round and then if she's interested we can make another appointment for an interview..."

I hold my hand up silencing him. "No, Taylor you are absolutely right. I am not messing her around from the offset and jeopardising any chance we might have of hiring her. I'll go make the sandwiches - they won't take long and by the time you get back with her, I'll look a little more professional."

I hope.

 

I stand in the lobby awaiting the elevator. I have changed into grey flannel pants, a white shirt and a dark blazer. I wanted to be formal but not too formal. The elevator pings, the doors open and to my utter surprise I see Taylor smiling broadly as he tucks a photo into his wallet and an attractive, elegant blonde is telling him how adorable his daughter is!

What the fuck? Where is Mrs. Jones?

Taylor catches my eye and immediately stops grinning like an idiot and switches back to his usual reserved self.

"Umm...Mr. Grey. This is Mrs. Jones."

HUH???

She steps forward and beams at me as she offers her hand. "Gail, please. It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Grey."

Well shake her hand dumbass!

"Umm...Gail. Hello. Excuse my shock, I...I just thought you'd be older."

Her lovely smile fades. "Is...Is that a problem?"

I grip her hand. "NO! Umm...no, not at all. In fact taking in the size of this place it's probably an advantage!"

Plus you have made Taylor smile more in five minutes than I have ever seen him smile since he's been working for me.

She smiles in relief as retrieves her hand and looks past me. "It's a beautiful place, Mr. Grey."

"Thank you. Would you like a drink then I can give you the grand tour?"

"A coffee would be great. I need a caffeine hit after that journey!"

"I'll make it." Taylor interjects before I can speak.

WOW! He really HAS got it bad...

Gail looks at Taylor with warm brown eyes. "Thank you, Jason but I wouldn't mind making them myself. See how the kitchen works - if that's okay, Mr. Grey?"

"Of course. Please let me lead the way." I smile. "Would you like to join us...Jason..?" I cock my head to the side and smirk at him. Taylor narrows his eyes at me, but his mouth twitches. "Thank you, Mr. Grey, but I'm sure you have numerous important points to discuss with Gai...Mrs. Jones." He turns to Gail. "Maybe I can take your coat and bag and we can catch up later on?"

She beams at him and I notice with glee that his ears turn pink.

Unless she's some kind of maladroit harridan, the job's hers. There is no way I'm letting this opportunity for Taylor to perhaps find love, slip through my fingers.

...Besides, watching him get all flushed and flustered is highly entertaining...

 

 

I'm sat with Gail on my sumptuous horseshoe sofa. It screams overindulgence but I don't care. I can afford it. After she made one of the best cups of coffee I've had in years - apparently all this time I have drank it black, when I should have been adding a little milk to bring out the taste - I showed her around the penthouse - except for the playroom. I'm not showing her that until the ink has dried on the NDA and I'm satisfied I can trust her. Even Taylor thinks I'm using it to store files. She seems thoroughly delighted and up for the challenge of taking on such a large place - and two dorky bachelors.

"So, Gail - tell me about yourself. I know all about you professionally, but not much about you."

Apart from the information Welch dug up for me, which was all exemplary - but didn't provide much of an insight.

She smiles shyly. "There's nothing very interesting, Mr. Grey. I grew up on my parents ranch in Baker City, Oregon with my two younger brothers. I married a Ranch-Hand when I was eighteen - but he was killed a year into our marriage when he was trampled on by an aggressive Colt he was trying to break in."

Welch's information said she was widowed, but nothing as to how it had happened.

"I'm so sorry. That must have been awful."

She nods. "Thank you. I couldn't stay at the Ranch whilst I was grieving, it was too hard, so I left to travel up state. I took on various jobs before meeting the Sullivan's and taking the job of Mrs. Sullivan's housekeeper. I really loved it and it gave me the courage to go back to the ranch for Thanksgiving and the holidays. I was so sad when Maggie had to go into residential care - not because of losing the job - but because it meant I'd be leaving the Sullivan's. I'd grown to love them as much as my own family."

I smile. "Barney speaks very highly of you. His family are all very fond of you too."

She nods. "He is such a clever boy - well he's a man now - but I'll always think of him as that cute geek with shaggy hair and spectacles that used to spend time with his Grammy in the holidays!"

Yeah...when he wasn't smoking pot or watching porn...

"So...what do you think then Gail? If you're interested I'd like you to start ASAP and as I mentioned, those rooms off the kitchen would be converted into your own private wing, similar to Jason's. I would however need you to sign an NDA which is a..."

"Nondisclosure agreement. Barney told me all about it when I spoke to him. He wanted to make sure I was okay with it before I agreed to the interview - which I am."

"I must give that boy a raise." I murmur.

Gail laughs, a happy tinkly laugh which echoes around the room. I like the way it sounds. I'm not a great laugher and Taylor is even more reserved than I am, so I appreciate hearing laughter of any degree. It's then I realise something.

"You...Umm haven't fully answered my question. If you're prepared to take everything on - including two annoying bachelors - the job is yours."

Gail looks around the large room and I hold my breath.

"Mr. Grey. Where do I sign?"

 

***********

Tuesday November 15 2005

 

I'm in such a better mood today I have given Taylor the day off to help Gail pack and move in. It all came about so quickly, I've had to offer her Mia's room temporarily until her rooms are refit to her requirements. That didn't exactly go down well with Mia. Elliot came round last night and gave the rooms the once over and reckoned if I paid well, he could get a team in within forty-eight hours who would complete the modifications by Thanksgiving. So I gave the go-ahead. Gail just needs to pick out colour schemes. And as for my darling little sister...I had to sugar-coat it with the promise of taking her on a long weekend trip to Paris for Christmas shopping to make up for it.

Not that she has me wrapped round her little finger or anything...

I'm driving my Audi back to The Escala as Taylor has the SUV. Ryan Sawyer - a young security rookie Taylor has been training - is riding shotgun. It's my idea that Taylor will eventually head a team of security personnel who will be deployed depending on circumstances. He has a number of contacts in the pipeline, but Ryan had worked under Taylor on his last Black Op and Taylor had been impressed with him. I check my watch.

Hmm...Business for the day wrapped up earlier than expected and Taylor and Gail aren't due back until this evening. I wonder...

I remove my cell from my jacket pocket and hand it to Sawyer.

"Send a text to Alan DeBrett, asking if it's convenient for me to swing by, have a chat to him and a wander around the gallery."

"Sir."

I relax back into the seat of my TT as The Boss sings about Glory Days.

"He says it's fine, sir."

"Excellent tell him I'll see him in fifteen."

 

DeBretts Art Gallery is only a short drive off the I-5 James Street exit. Originally started up by Alan's grandfather in the late 1940's, legend has it that the original pieces were actually stolen Nazi paintings that he and some of his shady friends had intercepted at Sea-Tac, en-route to Argentina. Sawyer has parked the Audi and is standing by in the coffee shop opposite the gallery.

"So you decided on the lobby?" Alan smiles as we stand in front of an impressive painting of The Canal Grande in Venice.

I nod enjoying the artistry of the painting. "Yes. I think they will have the maximum impact there and the shape and light of the lobby lends itself better to figurative paintings. I think they would get a little lost displayed in the large living area."

"I tend to agree." He rubs his chin as he regards me.

"What?"

"Well...I don't want to come across as some pushy sales exec, but if they are going in the lobby, the best idea would be to purchase a few more. As wonderful as those four are, they would really look better with a few friends either side of them."

I narrow my eyes at him as I smirk. "And I suppose you can get your hands on a few friends for me?"

Alan laughs. "Let me show you my first floor attic display. It doesn't have the height of your lobby but you'll get a perspective of light and scope, plus you might see something you like."

"Of course, lead the way." I grin.

"Do you have any plans for the walls of your main space?" He stops in his tracks. "Oh dear...I really am trying the hard sell today aren't I?"

This time I have to laugh at his apologetic face. "Alan, I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to spend money. The figurative paintings are just the start. I hope to find more pieces in here over time that I can use at the penthouse - and my office could also do with brightening up a little."

He nods. "Elena mentioned your family also have a holiday home in Aspen..?"

"Don't push your luck, DeBrett."

He grins at me and then surprises me with a quick, graceful bow. "Spoken like a true Master." He whispers then winks at me. "Were you thinking portraits, landscapes, modern art..?"

"I've always seemed to have had an affinity with abstracts," I muse as I walk alongside him. "My life is so ordered and controlled, but abstracts call out to the...darkness within..." My voice trails off.

Fuck! How the hell had looking at paintings turned into a therapy session?

I warily meet his gaze. "I don't know what got you to this point, Christian," he begins in a low whisper. "But I totally understand the mind-set, believe me. You have nothing to fear here, or indeed of me."

I let out a deep withheld breath. "Thank you." I mumble.

Alan smiles warmly at me. "Not a problem. After we have been to the attic I'll show you some abstracts that have recently come in from a local artist, which you may like."

"Oh that would be great. I'd like to promote local talent."

"Yes, me too. In fact, coming to think of it, I have a small exhibition coming up next month by another local artist - J. Trouton. She paints the most exceptional paintings in small scale, but the colours and details are simply exquisite. I'll give you the details when we go back to my office."

 

I have put my name down on four more figurative paintings of the Madonna and child and Alan will let me know if any more come in that he thinks I might be interested in. We are now in the Abstract section and after looking at a number of possible pieces, Alan has led me to two large canvases painted by a D. Nicole.

BINGO! The perfect combination of colours displaying just the right amounts of passion and aggression.

"Wow, Alan. These...these are perfect! What can you tell me about the artist?"

He smiles and lowers his head to mine. "I'm actually doing it as a favour to Harry. The artist is someone he knows."

I nod. "He's lucky to know someone so talented!"

"Yeah...they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but to the discerning eye who can understand the artist's perspective...you can see their appeal."

"Absolutely. Do you have more by this...D. Nicole?"

"Not on display, no, but she does have a website I have the address for, so maybe you could even contact her for a commission - once you've bought everything on her site?" He says with a smirk.

I laugh. "And would you be getting a cut?"

He shakes his head. "Christian, I'm going to be making enough money just from the six paintings you've bought today to buy myself a small Caribbean estate - without also ripping off some poor artist!"

I chuckle. "I hear St. Bart's is lovely at this time of year."

"It is. I'm surprised you've not got a pre-Christmas jaunt booked there!"

I sigh. "No. My pre-Christmas jaunt this year is Christmas shopping in Paris - with my little sister."

Alan looks at me in disbelief.

"I know. Don't ask."

 

I shut off my laptop with a yawn.

What a day.

Shortly after arriving back with Sawyer, Taylor and Gail had arrived and I had to almost chew my lips off not to smile. It's downright obvious that there is definitely a mutual attraction there and being stuck together on a long drive back from Portland hadn't seemed to dampen it. Sawyer and I had helped unpack the SUV and placed the boxes in an as yet empty bedroom I had mentally assigned to Victoria. I then ordered a Chinese take out for us all, whilst Taylor helped Gail set up her necessities in the pink bedroom via batted eyelashes and shy smiles. Taylor will have face ache in the morning from all his smiling and chatting to her.

I honestly didn't know he had it in him.

I've just finished arranging an appointment with Miss. D. Nicole via email to come round Thursday to discuss possible commission pieces for the penthouse. I have already snapped up two further pieces off her website which I plan to hang either side of the lobby doors, so they face into the main room. The pieces at the art gallery will go on the wall facing the kitchen, but I'd like a specific piece for the lounge area, one I could have some input with. She seems very mysterious and intriguing, much like...

...Victoria. I must meet up with her this week to discuss our future arrangement.

I turn the nightstand lamp off and stare at the ceiling.

Problem is...I haven't decided yet whether we have one. I'm still hoping for a sign...

 

 

**********

 

Wednesday November 16 2005

 

I have had a cooked breakfast.

I am in a freshly-pressed shirt.

My office smells of zingy citrus.

Five minutes ago a fine mug of coffee arrived.

We're having homemade chicken pot pie for lunch.

 

Gail's first morning here has been little short of astounding. I'd almost forgotten what it's like to be waited on hand and foot and all your basic necessities catered for.

I hope she's planning on staying for the long-haul. I could get used to this...

An odd noise coming from outside my office door has me frowning at it.

What is that? Wait...is it...Whistling?

The noise gets louder, stopping just before Taylor appears in the doorway.

"Sir...Welch wants to know if you still have the file on Phillip Hale? Apparently he's looking to appeal his sentence."

My eyebrows shoot up. "Seriously? That swindling asshole thinks he has a chance to reduce his sentence?"

"It would appear so. Welch wants to dig up as much stuff on him as he can. He's concerned if Hale wins his appeal...he may come after you."

I snort. "I almost want to let the fucker try, just to see him fail spectacularly. If he seriously thinks I run my company the way Tom Henderson ran his, then he's as delusional as he is crooked!"

Taylor beams. "I can see the merit in watching him try, but if you give me the key to the storeroom I can dig out that file for Welch."

FUCK!

Through a haze, I see Taylor approach my desk and then his hands are on my arms as he shakes me. "Mr. Grey! SIR!"

I have gone numb as fear, cold and hard grips my soul and I break out in a cold, clammy sweat.

"Sir! Christian! Please...do you need a Doctor?" Taylor's warm hazel eyes are wide with concern.

"No..." I finally croak. "No Doctor. Just a large Armagnac. Get yourself one too. You're going to need it."

 

Taylor returns with the Armagnacs and sits back down on the chair in front of my desk as I take a long slug.

CHRIST. I knew I would one day I'd  have to tell Taylor the truth, but it's so hard to articulate it all into words...

"Take all the time you need, sir."

My temples are beginning to throb from the stress, but I have to do this. It's getting harder to cover my tracks and it's unfair to constantly lie to someone who is being paid to protect me.

"The storeroom," I finally mumble. "It's not actually a storeroom. It's a...a..."

GET A GRIP, GREY!

"...Oh fuck it. Let me show you." I throw the rest of the Armagnac down my throat and stand. I head out of the room - a little unsteadily - followed closely by Taylor.

 

I put the key in the playroom lock and stop.

"Taylor...this is really hard for me. I don't trust many people, but I've grown to trust you implicitly. Not even my family will ever know what's behind this door." I sigh sadly. "Please don't think too badly of me." I open the door and step aside to let Taylor in. I hear his low gasp as I close the door behind me and lean wearily against it.

"This is my playroom. Set up for sexual role-playing." I take a deep breath as Taylor turns to face me. "I had a lot of issues in my childhood - stemming from my early life with my birth mom. I'll spare you all the gory details. But...as a result, I have particular tastes when it comes to sex. I like...I NEED control." I shut my eyes and rub my aching temples. Opening them I look Taylor straight in the eye. He stands silently facing me, his expression giving nothing away. I sigh again before taking another deep breath. "I'm what's known as a Dominant, Jason. And it involves bondage, discipline and total submission from the other person. That's...that's what I get off on."

Taylor listens intently to my speech and then nods slowly. "So..." He begins gently. "When I drop you off at that downtown bar...it's to pick up men to..."

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!

"NO!" I exclaim making Taylor jerk in surprise. "Sorry, Jason. No...I promise you. I'm one hundred percent heterosexual. The bar is just a decoy. I slip around the corner to a club called Angelica's. It's a club that specialises in this kind of stuff. That's where I met Victoria, my current submissive. We still meet up there to enjoy the entertainment and use their private rooms."

Taylor frowns at me. "I see. I'm sorry I thought you were gay." He shifts uncomfortably. "You should know - there are a lot of whispers from the personnel that think the same."

I smile for the first time in what seems like an eternity. "For the moment, I'm happy to work under that illusion. I mean - isn't it better that everyone - including my own family - thinks I'm gay rather than knowing about...this?" I wave my hand in the general direction of the room and then run it agitatedly through my hair. "If this got out...it would bring so much shame and upset on my family..." I swallow as a lump forms in my throat. "They can never know what a dark soul I have," I finish with a whisper.

Taylor takes a step towards me. "Christian...if I may be so bold. I don't believe for a minute you have a dark soul. I've worked with many fine men, who after the traumas on the field took a...darker path. Drink, drugs..."

"Thanks, Jason but I'm hardly a war hero."

"You've still suffered a major mental trauma and it was as a young child. You couldn't fight back. If this is your only vice as a result, then that doesn't mean you have a dark soul." He takes a deep breath. "These women you...dominate. They're all consenting adults?"

"Of course. And just to clarify, It'll just be Victoria I use this room with. I'm totally monogamous. As is she. And she's signed an NDA."

"I see." Taylor straightens up and seems to visibly relax. "Christian, if that's all that's going to go on in this room I really don't have an issue with it. I fully understand why you think it necessary to keep it under wraps - but there is nothing wrong in wanting to protect the ones you love. And as for the personnel - nothing you've told me will leave this room. You have my word."

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Just to share my secret with a neutral party is a welcome relief.

"Thanks, Jason. I feel so much better for telling you. There will be times I may need your help with the logistics of this arrangement and knowing I can rely on your ultimate discretion is a huge help."

"Of course. May I ask if anyone else knows?"

I run my hand over my face.

Here goes nothing.

"Only two people know the full story. John Flynn and...Elena. Mrs. Lincoln."

Taylor's eyes widen in surprise.

"Elena...she was just in the right place at the right time. She's known me a very long time, Taylor - when I was at my worst as a violent, drunk teen. It was she who put me in touch with Flynn. Without her help and support over the years...I don't know what would have happened to me."

"I see." Taylor says quietly then shrugs. "Well, I am genuinely glad you had trusted people in your life that have been able to help you. And now you also have me."

I smile and put my hand out to him. It's a reflex action that I barely register is happening until Taylor takes it shakes it warmly.

"Thank you Jason." I croak. "You're a good man."

Taylor looks me dead in the eye as he squeezes my hand. "As are you, Christian. Please believe that."

I shrug as I release his hand and move towards the door. "Oh and by the way...Elliot thinks you're my boyfriend..."

 

***********

 

Thursday November 17 2005

 

Eleven...no...Twelve times.

Twelve times I have picked up my cell to call Victoria today and put it back down again. I don't know what I want to say to her. Three times during breakfast, twice in the car, once in the elevator, twice before my meeting, once afterwards, twice in the car back home and now.

I don't want to end things but I don't want to be a couple either.

So what the FUCK do I want?

I just want the beautiful, compliant Sub I enjoy fucking.

But if that's not enough for Victoria anymore, then is it fair to continue?

I sigh and rub my aching temples. It's been a really busy week, I have a brand new playroom sat there waiting for me and all I want to do is throw Victoria against that cross and fuck her hard until I obliterate the outside world.

Why is that now so difficult?

I pour myself a large glass of wine, put on a Thomas Tallis CD and sink into my new couch.

I yank my cell out of my pocket and stab in the number. She picks up on the second ring.

"Well, this is a nice surprise. You don't usually call at this time."

"I know. I'm not disturbing you am I?"

"Of course not! I'd always make time for you."

"Thanks, Elena. I...I just needed a friendly voice."

"Oh darling, what's wrong?" She says softly down the phone.

"Nothing...everything...I don't know."

"Do you want me to come over? I can be there within half an hour."

I sigh. "No, thanks Elena. I have an artist coming round soon to discuss commissioning some abstracts for the penthouse."

"Ah, yes! Alan mentioned you'd popped by the gallery. He's growing quite fond of you. I'm beginning to get a little jealous."

I chuckle. "I never thought I'd say this, but he's a cool guy. I'm happy you're with someone like him."

"Well, technically I'm not WITH him. You know we're not exclusive." She lowers her voice. "You're the only one I was monogamous with. You met and fulfilled all my needs and desires..." She rasps.

I screw my eyes closed as images of us together play out behind my eyelids.

Was it easier when I was with her? I don't remember this stress. Just lots of sneaking around - until that bastard destroyed it all.

"Christian..?"

"Yeah, I was just thinking about us."

"We were so good together, darling," she purrs seductively. "You're by far the best lover I ever had."

Lover??

"That was a long time ago, Elena and I wasn't your lover I was your Sub then your Dom." I snap. "It's hardly the same."

There is silence down the line.

SHIT!

"Elena..." I begin a little more gently. "I'm sorry okay. That was a little...harsh."

"You think? That hurt, Christian. I thought we meant something to each other."

"We did. We do."

I am digging the world's biggest hole here...

"I'm sorry Elena. I really am. I'm just...in a bit of a shitty mood. I'm still struggling to know what to do about Victoria."

"YOU STILL HAVENT ENDED IT?"

I run my hand through my hair in agitation. "No, okay! I've picked the phone up a dozen times today; I still don't know what to do."

"I thought you'd decided it was for the best?"

"I thought I had, but..." I pause and take a deep breath.

"But, what?"

"I was waiting for a sign," I mutter feeling ridiculous.

"A sign? Oh Christian..."

"I don't know what to do, Elena." I sigh miserably.

"Darling, cancel the artist. Let me come over. This is impossible to resolve over the phone. I'll come and help you through it."

I glance at my watch. "I can't, Elena, she'll be here shortly. I can't bail on her now, she's coming in from Green Lake especially. What about tonight? I can ask Mrs. Jones to rustle up something special for us."

"I'd like that, darling. She's proving quite a find isn't she?"

"She certainly is. And Taylor sure as hell been smiling a lot more. It's a bit unnerving," I smirk.

"So I'll pop round once I close up tonight. Is that okay?"

"Perfect, Elena. Thank you."

"Looking forward to it. See you then."

I hang up feeling much better. Maybe discussing it thoroughly with Elena tonight will help me gain some perspective on it all.

Waiting for a sign. What a Dumbass.

Taylor appears by the couch. "Sir, a female is on her way up in the elevator."

"Thank you Taylor. That'll be Miss. Nicole. Show her in."

"Sir."

I stand and stretch upwards as Taylor heads for the foyer, then follow him, stopping by the entrance to my office. I spot a woman come out of the elevator, dressed simply in jeans and a navy jacket. Her hair is spilling out from under a matching beret. Taylor holds open the lobby door and she nods at him as she walks past carrying a foolscap leather wallet.

"Miss. Nicole, sir."

I step toward offering my hand. "Miss. Nicole. I'm Christian Grey."

Bright brown eyes meet mine and she smiles causing dimples to dance in her cheeks.

Okay...I wasn't expecting her to be quite so...Cute...

She slips a hand into mine and shakes it firmly. "Delilah Nicole Williams. But everyone calls me... Leila."

 

 

THE END

Fifty Shades Of Grey: The Elena Years

©Elizabeth Winston 2015

 

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