I gape at Dr. Greene, my world collapsing around me. A baby. A baby. I don’t want a baby . . . not yet. Fuck. And I know deep down that Christian is going to freak.
“Mrs. Grey, you’re very pale. Would you like a glass of water?”
“Please.” My voice is a barely audible. My mind is racing. Pregnant? When?
“I take it you’re surprised.”
I nod mutely at the good doctor as she hands me a glass of water from her conveniently placed water cooler. I take a welcome sip. “Shocked,” I whisper.
“We could do an ultrasound to see how advanced the pregnancy is. Judging by your reaction, I suspect you’re just a couple of weeks or so from concep-tion—four or five weeks pregnant. I take it you haven’t been suffering any other symptoms?”
I shake my head mutely. Symptoms? I don’t think so. “I thought . . . I thought this was a reliable form of contraceptive.”
Dr. Greene arches a brow. “It normally is, when you remember to have the shot,” she says coolly.
“I must have lost track of time.” Christian is going to freak. I know it.
“Have you been bleeding at all?”
I frown. “No.”
“That’s normal for the Depo. Let’s do an ultrasound shall we? I have time.”
I nod, bewildered, and Dr. Greene directs me toward a black leather exam table behind a screen.
“If you’ll just slip off your skirt, underwear, and cover yourself with the blanket on the table, we’ll go from there,” she says briskly.
Underwear? I was expecting an ultrasound scan over my belly. Why do I need to remove my panties? I shrug in consternation then quickly do as she says and lie down beneath the soft white blanket.
“That’s good.” Dr. Greene appears at the end of the table, pulling the ultrasound machine closer. It’s a hi-tech stack of computers. Sitting down, she positions the screen so that we can both see it and jogs the trackball on the keyboard.
The screen pings into life.
“If you could lift and bend your knees, then part them wide,” she says matter-of-factly.
I frown warily.
“This is a transvaginal ultrasound. If you’re only just pregnant, we should be able to find the baby with this.” She holds up a long white probe.
Oh, you have got to be kidding!
“Okay,” I mutter, mortified, and do as she says. Greene pulls a condom over the wand and lubricates it with clear gel.
“Mrs. Grey, if you could relax.”
Relax? I’m pregnant, damn it! How do you expect me to relax? I blush, and endeavor to find my happy place . . . which has relocated somewhere near the lost Island of Atlantis.
Slowly and gently she inserts the probe.
All I can see on the screen is the visual equivalent of white noise—although it’s more sepia in color. Slowly, Dr. Greene moves the probe about, and it’s very disconcerting.
“There,” she murmurs. She presses a button, freezing the picture on the screen, and points to a tiny blip in the sepia storm.
It’s a little blip. There’s a tiny little blip in my belly. Tiny. Wow. I forget my discomfort as I stare shell-shocked at the blip.
“It’s too early to see the heartbeat, but yes, you’re definitely pregnant. Four or five weeks, I would say.” She frowns. “Looks like the shot ran out early. Oh well, that happens sometimes.”
I am too stunned to say anything. The little blip is a baby. A real honest to goodness baby. Christian’s baby. My baby. Holy cow. A baby!
“Would you like me to print out a picture for you?”
I nod, still unable to speak, and Dr. Greene presses a button. Then she gently removes the wand and hands me a paper towel to clean myself.
“Congratulations, Mrs. Grey,” she says as I sit up. “We’ll need to make another appointment. I suggest in four weeks’ time. Then we can ascertain the exact age of your baby and set a likely due date. You can get dressed now.”
“Okay.” I’m reeling and I dress hurriedly. I have a blip, a little blip. When I emerge from behind the screen, Dr. Greene is back at her desk.
“In the meantime, I’d like you to start this course of folic acid and prenatal vitamins. Here’s a leaflet of dos and don’ts.”
As she hands me a package of pills and a leaflet, she continues to talk at me, but I’m not listening. I’m in shock. Overwhelmed. Surely I should be happy.
Surely I should be thirty . . . at least. This is too soon—far too soon. I try to quell my rising sense of panic.
I wish Dr. Greene a polite good-bye and head in a daze back down to the exit and out into the cool fall afternoon. I’m gripped suddenly by a creeping cold and deep sense of foreboding. Christian is going to freak, I know, but how much and how far, I have no idea. His words haunt me. “I’m not ready to share you yet.” I pull my jacket tighter around me, trying to shake off the cold.
Sawyer leaps out of the SUV and holds open the door. He frowns when he sees my face, but I ignore his concerned expression.
“Where to, Mrs. Grey?” he asks gently.
“SIP.” I nestle into the backseat of the car, closing my eyes and leaning my head on the headrest. I should be happy. I know I should be happy. But I’m not.
This is too early. Far too early. What about my job? What about SIP? What about Christian and me? No. No. No. We’ll be fine. He’ll be fine. He loved baby Mia—I remember Carrick telling me—he dotes on her now. Perhaps I should warn Flynn . . . Perhaps I shouldn’t tell Christian. Perhaps I . . . perhaps I should end this. I halt my thoughts on that dark path, alarmed at the direction they’re taking. Instinctively my hand sweeps down to rest protectively over my belly. No.
My little Blip. Tears spring to my eyes. What am I going to do?
A vision of a little boy with copper-colored hair and bright gray eyes, running through the meadow at the new house invades my thoughts, teasing and tantalizing me with possibilities. He’s giggling and squealing with delight as Christian and I chase him. Christian swings him high in his arms and carries him on his hip as we walk hand in hand back to the house.
My vision morphs into Christian turning away from me in disgust. I’m fat and awkward, heavy with child. He paces the long hall of mirrors, away from me, the sound of his footsteps echoing off the silvered glass, walls, and floor.
Christian . . .
I jerk awake. No. He’s going to freak out.
When Sawyer pulls up outside SIP, I leap out and head into the building.
“Ana, great to see you. How’s your dad?” Hannah asks as soon as I reach my office. I regard her coolly.
“He’s better, thank you. Can I see you in my office?”
“Sure.” She looks surprised as she follows me in. “Is everything okay?”
“I need to know if you’ve moved or cancelled any appointments with Dr.
“Dr. Greene? Yes, I have. About two or three of them. Mostly because you were in other meetings or running late. Why?”
Because now I’m fucking pregnant! I scream at her in my head. I take a deep, steadying breath. “If you move any appointments, will you make sure I know? I don’t always check my calendar.”
“Sure,” Hannah says quietly. “I’m sorry. Have I done something wrong?”
I shake my head and sigh loudly. “Can you make me some tea? Then let’s discuss what’s been happening while I’ve been away.”
“Sure. I’ll jump to it.” Brightening, she heads out of the office.
I gaze after her departing figure. “You see that woman?” I talk quietly to the Blip. “She might be the reason you’re here.” I pat my belly then feel like a complete idiot, because I am talking to the blip. My tiny little Blip. I shake my head, exasperated at myself and at Hannah . . . though deep down I know I can’t really blame Hannah. Despondently I switch on my computer. There’s an e-mail from Christian.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Missing You
Date: September 13, 2011 13:58
To: Anastasia Grey
I’ve been back in the office for only three hours, and I’m missing you already.
Hope Ray has settled into his new room okay. Mom is going to see him this afternoon and check up on him.
I’ll collect you around six this evening, and we can go and see him before heading home.
Your loving husband
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
I type a quick response.
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: Missing You
Date: September 13, 2011 14:10
To: Christian Grey
Commissioning Editor, SIP
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Missing You
Date: September 13, 2011 14:14
To: Anastasia Grey
Are you okay?
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
No, Christian, I’m not. I’m freaking out about you freaking out. I don’t know what to do. But I am not going to tell you via e-mail.
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: Missing You
Date: September 13, 2011 14:17
To: Christian Grey
Fine. Just busy.
See you at six.
Commissioning Editor, SIP
When will I tell him? Tonight? Maybe after sex? Maybe during sex. No, that might be dangerous for both of us. When he’s asleep? I put my head in my hands.
What the hell am I going to do?
“Hi,” Christian says warily as I climb into the SUV.
“Hi,” I murmur.
“What’s wrong?” He frowns. I shake my head as Taylor sets off toward the hospital.
“Nothing.” Maybe now? I could tell him now when we’re in a contained space and Taylor is with us.
“Is work all right?” Christian continues to probe.
“Yes. Fine. Thanks.”
“Ana, what’s wrong?” His tone is a little more forceful, and I chicken out.
“I’ve just missed you, that’s all. And I’ve been worried about Ray.”
Christian visibly relaxes. “Ray’s good. I spoke to Mom this afternoon and she’s impressed with his progress.” Christian grasps my hand. “Boy, your hand is cold. Have you eaten today?”
“Ana,” Christian scolds me, annoyed.
Well, I haven’t eaten because I know you’re going to go bat-shit crazy when I tell you I’m pregnant.
“I’ll eat this evening. I haven’t really had time.”
He shakes his head in frustration. “Do you want me to add ‘feed my wife’ to the security detail’s list of duties?”
“I’m sorry. I’ll eat. It’s just been a weird day. You know, moving Dad and all.”
His lips press into a hard line, but he says nothing. I gaze out the window.
Tell him! My subconscious hisses. No. I’m a coward.
Christian interrupts my reverie. “I may have to go to Taiwan.”
“Later this week. Maybe next week.”
“I want you to come with me.”
I swallow. “Christian, please. I have my job. Let’s not rehash this argument again.”
He sighs and pouts like a sulky teenager. “Thought I’d ask,” he mutters petulantly.
“How long will you go for?”
“Not more than a couple of days. I wish you’d tell me what’s bothering you.”
How can he tell? “Well, now that my beloved husband is going away . . .”
Christian kisses my knuckles. “I won’t be away for long.”
“Good.” I smile weakly at him.
Ray is much brighter and a lot less grumpy when we see him. I’m touched by his quiet gratitude to Christian, and for a moment I forget about my impending news as I sit and listen to them talk fishing and the Mariners. But he tires easily.
“Daddy, we’ll leave you to sleep.”
“Thanks, Ana honey. I like that you drop by. Saw your mom today, too, Christian. She was very reassuring. And she’s a Mariners fan.”
“She’s not crazy about fishing, though,” Christian says wryly as he rises.
“Don’t know many women who are, eh?” Ray grins.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” I kiss him. My subconscious purses her lips.
That’s provided Christian hasn’t locked you away . . . or worse. My spirits take a nosedive.
“Come.” Christian holds out his hand, frowning at me. I take it and we leave the hospital.
I pick at my food. It’s Mrs. Jones’s chicken chasseur, but I’m just not hungry. My stomach is knotted in a tight ball of anxiety.
“Damn it! Ana, will you tell me what’s wrong?” Christian pushes his empty plate away, irritated. I gaze at him. “Please. You’re driving me crazy.”
I swallow and try to subdue the panic rising in my throat. I take a deep steadying breath. It’s now or never. “I’m pregnant.”
He stills, and very slowly all the color drains from his face. “What?” he whispers, ashen.
His brow furrows with incomprehension. “How?”
How . . . how? What sort of ridiculous question is that? I blush, and give him a quizzical how-do-you-think look.
His stance changes immediately, his eyes hardening to flint. “Your shot?” he snarls.
“Did you forget your shot?”
I just gaze at him unable to speak. Jeez, he’s mad—really mad.
“Christ, Ana!” He bangs his fist on the table, making me jump, and stands so abruptly he almost knocks the dining chair over. “You have one thing, one thing to remember. Shit! I don’t fucking believe it. How could you be so stupid?”
Stupid! I gasp. Shit. I want to tell him that the shot was ineffective, but words fail me. I gaze down at my fingers. “I’m sorry,” I whisper.
“Sorry? Fuck!” he says again.
“I know the timing’s not very good.”
“Not very good!” he shouts. “We’ve known each other five fucking minutes.
I wanted to show you the fucking world and now . . . Fuck. Diapers and vomit and shit!” He closes his eyes. I think he’s trying to contain his temper and losing the battle.
“Did you forget? Tell me. Or did you do this on purpose?” His eyes blaze and anger emanates off him like a force field.
“No,” I whisper. I can’t tell him about Hannah—he’d fire her. I know.
“I thought we’d agreed on this!” he shouts.
“I know. We had. I’m sorry.”
He ignores me. “This is why. This is why I like control. So shit like this doesn’t come along and fuck everything up.”
No . . . Little Blip. “Christian, please don’t shout at me.” Tears start to slip down my face.
“Don’t start with waterworks now,” he snaps. “Fuck.” He runs a hand through his hair, pulling at it as he does. “You think I’m ready to be a father?” His voice catches, and it’s a mixture of rage and panic.
And it all becomes clear, the fear and loathing writ large in his eyes—his rage is that of a powerless adolescent. Oh, Fifty, I am so sorry. It’s a shock for me, too.
“I know neither one of us is ready for this, but I think you’ll make a wonderful father,” I choke. “We’ll figure it out.”
“How the fuck do you know!” he shouts, louder this time. “Tell me how!”
His gray eyes burn, and so many emotions cross his face. It’s fear that’s most prominent.
“Oh fuck this!” Christian bellows dismissively and holds his hands up in a gesture of defeat. He turns on his heel and stalks toward the foyer, grabbing his jacket as he leaves the great room. His footsteps echo off the wooden floor, and he disappears through the double doors into the foyer, slamming the door behind him and making me jump once more.
I am alone with the silence—the still, silent emptiness of the great room. I shudder involuntarily as I gaze numbly at the closed doors. He’s walked out on me. Shit! His reaction is far worse than I could ever have imagined. I push my plate away and fold my arms on the table, letting my head sink into them while I weep.
“Ana, dear.” Mrs. Jones is hovering beside me.
I sit up quickly, dashing the tears from my face.
“I heard. I’m sorry,” she says gently. “Would you like an herbal tea or something?”
“I’d like a glass of white wine.”
Mrs. Jones pauses for a fraction of a second, and I remember Blip. Now I can’t drink alcohol. Can I? I must study the dos and don’ts Dr. Greene gave me.
“I’ll get you a glass.”
“Actually, I’ll have a cup of tea, please.” I wipe my nose. She smiles kindly.
“Cup of tea coming up.” She clears our plates and heads over to the kitchen area. I follow her and perch on a stool, watching her prepare my tea.
She places a steaming mug in front of me. “Is there anything else I can get for you, Ana?”
“No, this is fine, thank you.”
“Are you sure? You didn’t eat much.”
I gaze up at her. “I’m just not hungry.”
“Ana, you should eat. It’s not just you anymore. Please let me fix you something. What would you like?” She looks so hopefully at me. But really, I can’t face anything.
My husband has just walked out on me because I’m pregnant, my father has been in a major car accident, and there’s Jack Hyde the nutcase trying to make out that I sexually harassed him. I suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to giggle. See what you’ve done to me, Little Blip! I caress my belly.
Mrs. Jones smiles indulgently at me. “Do you know how far you are?” she asks softly.
“Very newly pregnant. Four or five weeks, the doctor isn’t sure.”
“If you won’t eat, then at least you should rest.”
I nod, and taking my tea, I head into the library. It’s my refuge. I dig my BlackBerry out of my purse and contemplate calling Christian. I know it’s a shock for him—but he really did overreact. When does he not overreact? My subconscious arches a finely plucked brow at me. I sigh. Fifty Shades of fucked up.
“Yes, that’s your daddy, Little Blip. Hopefully he’ll cool off and come back . . . soon.”
I pull out the leaflet of dos and don’ts and sit down to read.
I can’t concentrate. Christian’s never walked out on me before. He’s been so thoughtful and kind over the last few days, so loving and now . . . Suppose he never comes back? Shit! Perhaps I should call Flynn. I don’t know what to do.
I’m at a loss. He’s so fragile in so many ways, and I knew he’d react badly to the news. He was so sweet this weekend. All those circumstances way beyond his control, yet he managed fine. But this news was too much.
Ever since I met him, my life has been complicated. Is it him? Is it the two of us together? Suppose he doesn’t get past this? Suppose he wants a divorce? Bile rises in my throat. No. I mustn’t think this way. He’ll be back. He will. I know he will. I know regardless of the shouting and his harsh words he loves me . . . yes.
And he’ll love you, too, Little Blip.
Leaning back in my chair, I start to doze.
I wake cold and disorientated. Shivering I check my watch; eleven in the evening.
Oh yes . . . You. I pat my belly. Where’s Christian? Is he back? Stiffly I ease out of the armchair and go in search of my husband.
Five minutes later, I realize he’s not home. I hope nothing’s happened to him.
Memories of the long wait when Charlie Tango went missing flood back.
No, no, no. Stop thinking like this. He’s probably gone to . . . where? Who would he go and see? Elliot? Or maybe he’s with Flynn. I hope so. I find my BlackBerry back in the library, and I text him.
Where are you?
I head into the bathroom and run myself a bath. I am so cold.
He still hasn’t returned when I climb out of the bath. I change into one of my 1930s-style satin nightdresses and my robe and head to the great room. On the way, I pop into the spare bedroom. Perhaps this could be Little Blip’s room. I am startled by the thought and stand in the doorway, contemplating this reality. Will we paint it blue or pink? The sweet thought is soured by the fact that my errant husband is so pissed at the idea. Grabbing the duvet from the spare bed, I head in-to the great room to keep vigil.
Something wakes me. A sound.
It’s Christian in the foyer. I hear the table scrape across the floor again.
“Shit!” he repeats, more muffled this time.
I scramble up in time to see him stagger through the double doors. He’s drunk. My scalp prickles. Shit, Christian drunk? I know how much he hates drunks. I leap up and run toward him.
“Christian, are you okay?”
He leans against the jamb of the foyer doors. “Mrs. Grey,” he slurs.
Crap. He’s very drunk. I don’t know what to do.
“Oh . . . you look mighty fine, Anastasia.”
“Where have you been?”
He puts his fingers to his lips and smiles crookedly at me. “Shh!”
“I think you’d better come to bed.”
“With you . . .” He snickers.
Snickering! Frowning, I gently put my arm around his waist because he can hardly stand, let alone walk. Where has he been? How did he get home?
“Let me help you to bed. Lean on me.”
“You are very beautiful, Ana.” He leans onto me and sniffs my hair, almost knocking both of us over.
“Christian, walk. I am going to put you to bed.”
“Okay,” he says as if he’s trying to concentrate.
We stumble down the corridor and finally make it into the bedroom.
“Bed,” he says, grinning.
“Yes, bed.” I maneuver him to the edge, but he holds me.
“Join me,” he says.
“Christian, I think you need some sleep.”
“And so it begins. I’ve heard about this.”
I frown. “Heard about what?”
“Babies mean no sex.”
“I’m sure that’s not true. Otherwise we’d all come from one-child families.”
He gazes down at me. “You’re funny.”
“Yes.” He smiles, but his smile changes as he thinks about it, and a haunted expression crosses his face, a look that chills me to the bone.
“Come on, Christian,” I say gently. I hate his expression. It speaks of horrid, ugly memories that no child should see. “Let’s get you into bed.” I push him gently, and he flops down onto the mattress, sprawling in all directions and grinning up at me, his haunted expression gone.
“Join me,” he slurs.
“Let’s get you undressed first.”
He grins widely, drunkenly. “Now you’re talking.”
Holy cow. Drunk Christian is cute and playful. I’ll take him over mad-as-hell Christian anytime.
“Sit up. Let me take your jacket off.”
“The room is spinning.”
Shit . . . is he going to throw up? “Christian, sit up!”
He smirks up at me. “Mrs. Grey, you are a bossy little thing . . .”
“Yes. Do as you’re told and sit up.” I put my hands on my hips. He grins again, struggles up onto his elbows then sits up in a most unChristian-like, gawky fashion. Before he can flop down again, I grab his tie and wrestle him out of his gray jacket, one arm at a time.
“You smell good.”
“You smell of hard liquor.”
“Yes . . . bour-bon.” He pronounces the syllables with such exaggeration that I have to stifle a giggle. Discarding his jacket on the floor beside me, I make a start on his tie. He rests his hands on my hips.
“I like the feel of this fabric on you, Anastay-shia,” he says, slurring his words. “You should always be in satin or silk.” He runs his hands up and down my hips then jerks me forward, pressing his mouth against my belly.
“And we have an invader in here.”
I stop breathing. Holy cow. He’s talking to Little Blip.
“You’re going to keep me awake, aren’t you?” he says to my belly.
Oh my. Christian looks up at me through his long dark lashes, gray eyes blurred and cloudy. My heart constricts.
“You’ll choose him over me,” he says sadly.
“Christian, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t be ridiculous—I am not choosing anyone over anyone. And he might be a she.”
He frowns. “A she . . . Oh, God.” He flops back down on to the bed and covers his eyes with his arm. I have managed to loosen his tie. I undo one shoelace and yank off his shoe and sock, then the other. When I stand, I see why I’ve met no resistance—Christian has passed out completely. He’s sound asleep and snoring softly.
I stare at him. He’s so goddamned beautiful, even drunk and snoring. His sculptured lips parted, one arm above his head, ruffling his messy hair, his face relaxed. He looks young—but then he is young; my young, stressed out, drunk, un-happy husband. The thought rests heavy in my heart.
Well, at least he’s home. I wonder where he went. I’m not sure I have the energy or the strength to move him or undress him any further. He’s on top of the duvet, too. Heading back into the great room, I pick up the duvet I was using and bring it back to our bedroom.
He’s still fast asleep, still wearing his tie and his belt. I climb onto the bed beside him, remove his tie, and gently undo the top button of his shirt. He mumbles something incoherently in his sleep, but he doesn’t wake. Carefully, I unbuckle his belt and pull it through the belt loops, and after some difficulty it’s off. His shirt has come dislodged from his pants, revealing a hint of his happy trail. I can’t resist. I bend and kiss it. He shifts, flexing his hips forward, but stays asleep.
I sit up and gaze at him again. Oh, Fifty, Fifty, Fifty . . . what am I going to do with you? I brush my fingers through his hair. It’s so soft and kiss his temple.
“I love you, Christian. Even when you’re drunk and you’ve been out God knows where, I love you. I’ll always love you.”
“Hmm,” he murmurs. I kiss his temple once more, then get off the bed, and cover him up with the spare duvet. I can sleep beside him, sideways across the bed . . . Yes, I’ll do that.
First I’ll sort out his clothes, though. I shake my head and pick up his socks and tie, and fold his jacket over my arm. As I do, his BlackBerry falls to the floor.
I pick it up and inadvertently unlock it. It opens on the texts screen. I can see my text, and above it, another.
Fuck. My scalp prickles.
*It was good to see you. I understand now.
Don’t fret. You’ll make a wonderful father.*
It’s from her. Mrs. Elena Bitch Troll Robinson.
Shit. That’s where he went. He’s been to see her.