I am returning to bed after feeding Teddy and it is somewhere in the middle of the night. I don’t even have the energy to list my head to the side and see the clock, but I can’t close my eyes. Christian is mumbling in his sleep, which I don’t hear very often for two reasons; I am a very sound sleeper and I don’t think it happens frequently.
I’m fascinated and trying to make out the words, but it seems like incoherent murmurs. Despite my lassitude, I roll on my side to watch my husband. He is beautiful, devastatingly beautiful. I regard him in his unconscious state. The line of his cheekbone, the arc of his brow, the profile of his nose, the bumps of his stubble, and the exquisite curve of his lips. His features are relaxed, something seldom seen in waking hours. How did I get this man? He was messed up enough to have you.
No. That isn’t it. Yeah, just keep telling yourself that. Eventually I may believe it.
“No,” Christian whimpers, echoing my thoughts. I wonder what he is dreaming. He doesn’t seem to be having a nightmare…yet. I’m curious if he buys into Flynn’s philosophy on our relationship. I haven’t had the courage to ask him. Why ask a question if the answer may not be what you want to hear?
“No…let me…I’m with,” Christian rambles. Nothing coherent.
I try to accept Flynn’s viewpoint on Christian’s and my relationship, ‘You each have something the other needed.’ Sounds simple enough. But when I ask what those things might be, I get a typical shrink response. ‘You tell me, Ana.’ Frustrating.
“Please…I need…please,” Christian sounds more agitated. Should I wake him? He seems restless, but it isn’t a full blown nightmare. I flip flop in my mind. He isn’t screaming in a cold sweat, but he is definitely not dreaming pleasantly. On the other hand, I scarcely ever get to watch him sleep. He sleeps so little, and it is exquisite to observe. Letting my eyes drift down, he is on his side with one gloriously bicepped arm curled in front of him. Below his arm, I can make out the ridges on his abdomen. He has one leg on top of the covers, bent slightly, and the other one underneath. The leg on top is concealed with striped pajama pants, with one bare foot peaking out the bottom. Mr. Grey is a fine sight. I wish I had the camera. I’m tempted to scurry downstairs to get it, but I’m too tired. One day I’ll have to remember to put it on my nightstand. Actually, I can envision a painting. Christian, bare-chested in low slung pants. I wonder if Trouton would do a portrait? Suppressing a giggle, I visualize Christian standing still to be painted. Yeah, not going to happen.
“No, no…please…NO!” Oh no. Christian’s breathing suddenly quickens, he is practically panting, and he is twisting back and forth. This can’t go further.
“Christian, wake up. Christian, I’m here. Baby, it’s me,” I try to wake him gently, putting my hand on his shoulder. I fail to rouse him and whatever is going on in his head gets more intense.
“You have to let me! I need to be…NO!”
That’s it. I grab his shoulder and start to shake, “Christian, wake up, now! It’s me, you’re safe. Everything is ok. Christian!”
His eyes fly open and stare into mine for several seconds. Then, with no warning, he throws me back onto the mattress and without preamble claims my mouth with his. His lips attack mine with a hungry urgency and tongue invades me. Then, just as abruptly, he stops. Christian’s eyes bore into me as seconds tick past. Then he grimaces and cries out, “Aagghhh!” He pounds his fist into the bed, curls around me, with his arm clamped around my waist, laying his head on my stomach, and coiling one leg around my ankles.
I’m frozen for a moment, not wanting to move lest it disconcert him. My heart is racing. Slowly, I reach my hand down and start to gently stroke his hair. As we lay there, I feel his breathing gradually slow and calm, but he maintains a vice grip on my body.
“I want to be inside you.” His voice is raspy and tortured.
“I want that, too,” I sigh. Glancing at the clock, it is 1:30. “Only twenty-one days to go.” I keep stroking his hair. I want desperately to comfort him, to be his safe haven. “But who’s counting.”
I feel his mouth grin against my abdomen, “but who’s counting.” I sigh, it is clear we both are. Counting.
I need to reassure him, and words won’t be enough. His words echo in my head, ’it’s the only way I know we’re okay’. I know Christian would never violate doctor’s orders, health and safety always first. But there are options. Options we’ve discussed…we’ll he talks, I just listen. Typically mentioned during a time when my brain cells aren’t terribly focused. “Um, there is, um, something, you know, we could, uh, try.” Way to sound convincing, Ana.
He twists his head to look up at me, then inches up my body resting his chin on my breast bone. With one hand, he runs his fingers across my forehead and down my cheek. “No.” He said no?
I’m confused. Hasn’t he always said he wanted this? Haven’t we been, uh, training for this?
He sighs, “Ana, I still want that. I want to possess every inch of you. But I need it to be with your full consent.”
I don’t understand. I wouldn’t have broached the subject if I was reluctant. “Christian, I’m consenting. I’ll admit to being nervous, but I have no countenance.”
Christian sighs again, “I know, baby. But with our options being constrained, I have to infer that is impacting your decision.” I open my mouth to object and he holds a hand up to stop me. “I know my beliefs may not be well-founded. But there is no way for you to assure me beyond all doubts.” He climbs up my body further and gives me a peck on the nose. “Besides, Mrs. Grey, I have another idea.” He smirks, then abruptly leaps from the bed as nimbly as a gazelle. His long legs stride into the bathroom and he returns holding a hand towel.
Laying back down on the bed, he kicks the sheet and duvet to the bottom. Then he strips off his pajamas and briefs. “Now you,” he says as he grabs the hem of my t-shirt, well, technically his t-shirt, and I sit up slightly to allow him to tug it over my head. As I lay back down, he hooks his index fingers into the sides of my panties and pulls them down to my knees. I kick them the rest of the way off. Christian takes the towel and lays it on the bed between us, and rests his hip on the edge.
We are both naked, laying on our sides gazing at each other, not touching. It is a strangely intimate moment. We are both exposed with nothing to hide behind. It isn’t just the lack of clothing or blankets, but also devoid of any implements, toys, or personas. It is just him and me. Christian and Ana.
He reaches for my face and lets his finger glide from my cheek, down my jaw, to my neck. His touch is so slight, whisperingly soft. He traces the line of my shoulder and down my arm to my hand. Taking my hand, he places it on his chest in the former forbidden zone. My fingers are relaxed and Christian floats my hand down his chest and abdomen, across his pelvis, and delicately wraps me around him.
“Just touch me softly,” he instructs in a hushed tone. I gently begin to stroke his erection. The skin is soft and silky, belying the rigid core underneath. Slowly I move my hand up and down his length. His eyes haven’t left mine for a moment. I want to kiss him, all of him, so I lean towards him but he stops me with a hand on my shoulder.
“No. I want just this.”
Returning to my original position, reciprocating his gaze, I continue tenderly touching him. Leisurely he reaches out to me and places his fingers on my chest, just like mine had been on his. His fingers graze my breasts and travel down to my torso. He is just barely making contact with my skin, tantalizing and teasing me. His hand drifts over my pubic hair, along my thigh where he nudges his hand between my legs, holds behind my knee and hitches my lower leg forward, bending it and essentially spreading my legs open, not very wide, just wide enough. His fingers make the return trip up my thigh to my sex. He slips a finger through my folds once, twice, then a third time before beginning to slowly, methodically circle my clit.
Instinctively, I start to quicken my pace and firm my grip on him. “Slow, Ana.” It’s a whisper, yet impelling. I reduce my pace and pressure, matching his soft, slow movements.
We carry on this way for several minutes, just touching each other, looking at each other. I feel indescribably close to him in this moment, the simple acts of touching and watching, cherishing...worshiping. I let my eyes flutter closed to focus on his touch, and the feel of him in my hand.
“Open your eyes, Ana. I want to see you. I want you to see me.” Oh.
And I do see him. Not the CEO. Not the control freak. Not the dom. Not even the broken child. I see the man, bared before me in an unadorned, uncomplicated juncture. I see the journey he has made since we met, since we married, since we knew Teddy was coming. I see the journey ahead, too.
My breathing is getting deeper, and I’m slightly surprised as the familiar pull starts to build. From feather light strokes, I’m almost incredulous.
Christian increases the pressure on me and the pace almost imperceptibly, as he continues to alternate gathering moisture from my sex and circling that sweet spot. I follow his lead, and do the same for him. He is beginning to drip pre-come, which I use to lubricate him. Caressing his length, I swirl my fist over the tip eliciting a gasp. The tender contact cedes to more passionate fondling, both of us nearly panting with need. His gray eyes have darkened and pupils dilated.
Desire tightens in my belly…and lower. I need release. Now. “Please, Christian,” I mewl. And for once, he listens. Without breaching eye contact, Christian’s manipulations amplify, and I mirror his passion. As gradually as it built, my orgasm washes over me like the breakers on the beach. Christian’s release follows mine as I clutch him, until his rapture subsides.
Our eyes are still locked on each other’s as our breathing steadies. The intimacy is almost overwhelming. “I love you, Christian.” It’s really all there is to say.
“I love you, Ana. You…you and Teddy are my world.”
After a few minutes, Christian leans forward and kisses me softly, reverently on the lips. He laughs a bit as he folds up the towel and uses a corner to clean us both up. Tossing the towel aside, he reaches for my panties, “Mrs. Grey, I think that is enough shenanigans for the night. You need to get to sleep.” I giggle as he slips my panties back up my legs, then I sit up so he can pull the t-shirt back over my head. When I reemerge through the shirt, he is scowling slightly and I fear a Christian Grey mood shift, “Why have you stopped wearing your satin nightgowns?”
Oh, is that all? I relax instantly, “Well, they are a bit inconvenient right now.” He cocks his head to the side questioningly while pulling on his pajama pants. “When I nurse, pulling up a floor length nightgown is, well, just a bit awkward. Then I’m sitting there with all this fabric bunched up around my neck.”
Just as I see comprehension on his face, a realization hits me. Does he think I don’t want to wear sexy nightwear for him? My inner goddess pokes me with an elbow, “Ms. Acton helped me select a new nightgown last week.” His eyebrows shoot up. “You’ll see it in twenty-one days,” I smirk.
Christian flops onto his back in mock exasperation, “Aaagh. Stop teasing me, jezebel or I shall return the favor.” Now it is my turn to be confused. “Beware tit for tat Mrs. Grey. Recrudesce that wound for me while I cannot tend to it and I assure you I won’t be frustrated alone.”
“Mr. Grey, that wound, as you put it, is hardly quiescent for either of us,” I sigh loudly. “And I assure you, I have no desire to exacerbate either of our libidos beyond our ability to be sated.”
Christian lifts his head and looks me up and down. He cups my chin so that I look him in the eye, “Right now it is entirely beyond all feasibility to fulfill my desires for you.” Wow. My inner goddess’ head pops up. He can affect me so much with just one sweet, hot sentence.
As I lay there contemplating the wisdom of round two, Christian decides for both of us. He pulls first the sheet, then the duvet over us, “Mrs. Grey, You. Sleep. Now.” I take a deep breath in and exhale, close my eyes and let slumber overtake me.
I’m laying in the meadow on a tartan blanket watching the clouds drift by. A bird coasts overhead, screeching as it gracefully soars. The avian creature is circling me in the sky, drifting lower, getting louder. It sounds familiar…
I snap out of my dream in an instant, my mommy ears springing to attention. In one of those odd moments where the real world interjects into your subconscious dreams…Teddy is squawking over the monitor, demanding a meal.
I shake my head awake and before I can slip out of the bed I realize I am alone. Does Fifty ever sleep? Well, not when something is upsetting him.
I pad down the hall to Teddy’s room, “Well hello there sweet boy,” I unswaddle him, scoop him up and step over to the changing table. Teddy is wearing yet another gifted outfit. It’s too cute blue and green stripes, and the legs can snap up two ways: like pants for day, and like a night shirt for night. Okay, it does look a slightly like a dress, but it makes diapering in the middle of the night so much easier, especially when I am too fatigued to align snaps properly. I was thinking of getting some sort of matching father/son outfits for father’s day, and I giggle picturing Christian in a nightshirt…with one of those funny hats.
Instead of settling into the glider, I grab a blue receiving blanket, throw the nursing pillow over my right shoulder and lifting Teddy to my left shoulder I go seek Christian out. Seek isn’t really the right word, as I surmise he is one of two places – his study or the music room. One thing Christian and I disagree on in our not so humble abode – the location of the music room. The prior homeowners put in the music room. If I listen to the rumors our architect shared, they hosted quite of few concerts: pianists, string quartets, even a private performance by Itzhak Perlman. Mind you, the woman was endeavoring to restore herself in my good graces at the time. The conversation not only didn’t impress me, but persuaded me once and for all that me Gia had no comprehension of who I am. I was largely convinced she was making it up, either to test if I knew of the world famous violinist or she truly felt I that the girl who had nothing before marrying Christian Grey would swoon at a close brush with the great or the famous. If only she wasn’t such an extraordinarily talented architect.
My vexation with the music room centers on the infeasibility to hear Christian playing whilst in the bedroom, on the complete transverse side of the house. I have a compulsion to hear Christian play when he is restless – to be alerted to the situation; I dislike being out of earshot, and I don’t like him being alone with his thoughts, letting his mind wander to dark places, morbid memories or distorted future scenarios. Naturally, the precise attribute I disfavor, Christian applauds. It exasperates him when I don’t sleep through the night, though it gives him cause to shift the worry from whatever is irking him to my slumber dearth.
Déjà vu hits me as I pass the kitchen, the living room, and enter the corridor at the far end of the house. Didn’t I just do this yesterday? At about the same time? I should probably wave to the overnight guy as I pass a camera. I should probably know his name, too.
Christian’s study is dark and a sorrowful refrain has reached my ears. As quietly as I can, I enter the music room. Christian’s back is to me as his fingers travel the keyboard. The song is disturbingly sad, rueful. I situate myself on one of the sofas with the nursing pillow around me and my legs tucked up underneath me, and recline Teddy across the pillow to nurse.
Christian appears to complete the song. Placing his hands on his thighs, I think he might be done. He sighs deeply, then raises his hands to the keys and embarks again.
I do not know this song, I’m not sure I’ve heard Christian play it before. Though I nearly always find his playing soothing no matter the piece, this song feels disconcerting. The tune has an emptiness to it. It makes me think of the barren acres around Mount Saint Helens, lifeless for decades since the volcano erupted. As the song progresses to another movement, and the melody becomes angry and bitter. Each section of the song adds more negative emotions until the music becomes aggressive and quick, almost storm like. Then, like the peaceful quiet after a snow storm, the music is briefly gentle before concluding.
Christian again places his hands on his thighs, and it is just at that moment that Teddy stretches a tiny fist into the air and lets out an “eh” noise. Not impressed with Daddy’s playing, Teddy? Christian whips around on the piano bench.
He appears almost alarmed to see me, “How long have you been there?”
Re-situating Teddy, I have really no idea. “I’m not certain. For one breast?” I gesture at Teddy to reinforce my intended meaning. “I think I heard the whole song through. What is that?”
Christian gets up from the piano bench, still looking uneasy. Almost as if he were caught doing something. He reaches me in six long strides. Instead of taking a seat next to me on the sofa, he agilely sinks to the floor crossing his legs and leaning his head into the nursing pillow on my lap. He runs a hand up and down Teddy’s back, “It’s a piece by Mahler.”
“What’s it called?”
“Kinder – that’s child, right?” He nods. “What does the title mean?”
Fifty looks at me hesitantly, “Literally translated it means ‘Songs on the Death of Children’.” I visibly flinch. “Don’t take it too literally, Ana. I play it because the melody suits my mood, not because of the words associated.”
I’m not sure what he means. “Are there words?”
He nods, “Yes. Mahler wrote music to accompany the work of a poet. When performed the poems are sung. It is quite captivating, albeit emotional.” It must wrenching to listen to if Christian brands it emotional. The king of understatement. I would probably sob all the way through.
“What was your nightmare about?”
“I don’t really know.”
“Was it your usual dream?”
“No, not at all.” Christian’s nightmares typically involve a scene from his early childhood, either with his birth mother, her pimp, or both. Frequently the people currently in his life, like me or his family, are in the dream, often substituting for one of the usual key participants . “This was very…different. It wasn’t lifelike or natural. It was ethereal and confusing. You and Teddy were with me in a crowd of people. I didn’t recognize anyone else. Then people starting getting in between us. It seemed innocuous at first, just the ebb and flow of a crowd. But then you two got further and further away from me. I tried to make my way through the throng to you, but the more I tried, the more people blocked my efforts until they were actually holding me back. All I could do is watch you two drift away as I fought to get to you.” Christian eyes are closed as he continues caressing Teddy’s back.
Wow. I am divided between celebrating his rare candidness – Christian is sharing – and trepidation over the theme in his nightmare. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure this one out.
I reach out to stroke his hair and he leans into my hand, “Baby, you know it wouldn’t be that easy to get rid of me? By now it must be within your ken that you are stuck with me, with us.” In my head I’m crossing my fingers as I try to simultaneously placate him and lighten the mood. We’ve had way too many intense moments in the past thirty-six hours.
Fifty smiles up at me, but it is a forlorn smile, “I know, Ana. The covenant between us…your pledge to me…there are occasions when cleaving to that is all I have.” He sighs deeply and lifts his eyes to mine. Suddenly he’s frowning, “Is Teddy almost done eating?”
Teddy has actually dozed off, “I’d say he’s replete now.”
“I’ll take him back to bed. You need to get to sleep, you are getting circles under your eyes.” I don’t argue with him. We both rise and I hand Teddy over, Christian turns towards the music room entrance but I put my hand on his arm and pull him back. Before he can question me, I wrap my arms around him, and Teddy, and pull them close.
“I just wanted that, Mr. Grey.”
“Any time, Mrs. Grey.”