“Ana, where in the world does the time go? The holidays are upon us. By the way, mom and dad always wants everyone to spend Thanksgiving with them. Mom makes a real big deal out of holidays, especially Thanksgiving. They have the entire family over as well as staff and everyone else who she can drag in. She says that if staff breaks bread with us, they bond and feel more like a part of the family rather than servants and everyone gets to know each other, which is always good. That means Gail, Taylor, Sawyer and Ryan will be coming. We will get Welsh to supply security for the penthouse. Okay?”
Anastasia is staring into the blazing fire like she has not heard a word that Christian has said. “Ana, what’s wrong? You look like you have seen a ghost”. Ana looks at Christian with tears streaming down her face. “Oh, Christian”, she sobs as he gathers her in his arms and pulls her onto his lap. “Baby, tell me what is wrong.” Ana quiets her sobbing and tells him that she has something that she wants to share with him. “I’m listening, baby. What is it?”
Ana starts talking. “You have not heard me say too much about mom’s husband #3 but I know that you have wanted to ask me about him.” Christian thinks quietly to himself that if that bastard has done something to hurt Ana, I will fucking find him and fucking kill his ass. “Yes, but I figured that something must have happened that you found painful to talk about and when you got ready, you would talk about it.” Ana remains quiet for a few minutes, trying to control her emotions which she is having a hard time doing.
Gail is working quietly in the kitchen, preparing some of the food to take over to Dr. Grey’s for the Thanksgiving feast next week. She can’t help but overhear the conversation between Christian and Ana. At first, with Ana sobbing, she thought that Christian had said something to upset her. She listens more closely as Ana continues.
“I never did like him,” Ana continues. “He always stared at me like I had two heads. He used to tell me that I was the ugliest thing that he ever saw. He would always ask me how in the world did I ever expect to get a husband looking the way I looked. I would go into my bedroom and just cry until I got sick. I never said anything to mom about it but I did ask her all of the time, why I couldn’t be pretty like her. Being my mother, she always told me that I was prettier than she was and I would even get prettier as I matured into a young woman.
One day, husband #3 came, uninvited, into my bedroom. He said that he decided to fuck me and that would make me look better.” Christian’s body tightened and Gail clasped her hands over her mouth to stave back a gasp. Ana continued. “He started to wrestle with me to get my clothes off but I fought him as hard as I could and bit his hand hard enough to make him let go of me. I ran out of my room before he could catch me, all of the while, he is calling for me to ‘get back here, you little bitch. I’m going to fuck the ugly out of you’. Mom had to run an errand and was just turning the corner as I ran out of the house. She didn’t see the haste, only that I was standing out on the porch as she pulled into the drive-way. ‘Where ya’ going, sweetheart?’ I told her that I had to take my friend’s homework notes to her as she forgot and left them in my room. Mom gave me a nod and told me not to be late for supper. I ran down the steps before she could see my tears.
I knew that I had to get away from that son-of-a-bitch. I called Ray later that evening when mom and #3 went out to a movie. The only thing that I shared with him was that I couldn’t stay with mom’s husband #3 because he was always complaining about me and was always being critical of me. Ray readily agreed to come get me right then. I told him that I had to check with mom and try to make her realize how unhappy that I was. Ray told me to call him as soon as I was ready. Ray figured something had happened but didn’t push the issue.”
“It would be nice to have someone else in the house with me to look after and who I could teach things to” is the way he explained to Christian the reason how Ana came to live with him. “We had always had a bond, but her mom was against Ana leaving her.”
“I convinced mom that I was not happy and to please, please, let me go and live with Ray. He was the only father that I knew and he would take care of me. She finally let me go. Every year, around this time, which is when it happened, I re-live it. I kept all of that crap in me until now, only sharing it with mom and Ray. It all came back to me when you started talking about the Thanksgiving gathering. That’s one reason why Dr. Flynn wants to talk to me about my insecurity and low self-esteem issues.
I was always ashamed of the way that I looked and why I thought that I was not pretty. When you kept telling me how pretty I was and what a delicious looking body that I had. I thought you were just trying to be nice to make me feel better about myself. Kate used to tell me the same thing. It is hard to shed that type of self-image when you have been told so many times how ugly that you are.
“Our first Thanksgiving together was, shall I say, challenging. I was just learning how to cook and Ray couldn’t help a bit. All we did was ate carryout and that grew old real quick so I really didn’t have a choice. Ray bought a turkey and some other stuff that I had no idea how to cook. The Monday before Thanksgiving, he came home with a package for me. I opened it and to my surprise, it was a ‘Cookbook for Beginners’. I laughed and asked him why he hadn’t gotten one for himself? He started laughing and said that he would rather fish than eat. We did manage to get through it with the turkey that was drier than dry, lumpy mashed potatoes with gravy that tasted like paste and the green bean casserole with half cooked green beans. Looking back, I realized just how good it was for me to have been there with Ray to keep him from starving to death. That was a Thanksgiving that will never be forgotten,” I chuckled.
Contining my account to Christian, and even though I didn’t realize it, to Gail as well. “I turned on the news one day while getting ready for school and there on the screen was, big as life, husband #3’s picture. The news anchor was interviewing some of the neighbors who lived on mom’s street. It seemed as though, there was a serial child molester that had been on the loose for several months but every child he had attempted to rape, was able to claw and get away from him. They finally caught him from DNA samples from under the girls’ fingernails, when the young girl had identified him as the man who had tried to attack her. He was so brazen that he had gone to the park one day to scout out his next would be victim. The young girl happened to be there, saw him, ran from the park like her life depended upon it, screaming at her mom to call the police as she almost tore down the door. She and her mom met the police at the park and they arrested husband #3. By the time the news had finished the story, my body had turned to mush as I dropped to the floor in a dead faint.”
Ray found me on the kitchen floor and called the rescue squad and then called my mom. Mom caught the first thing smoking headed to California. She was booked on an emergency flight and was at the hospital in a matter of hours.
I was examined and it was determined that my system had just had a stressful and shocking episode….other than that, I was just fine. “When the doctor left, mom asked me if I had seen the news. I told her that I had and then started crying uncontrollably. Poor Ray didn’t know what to think. He and mom just looked at each other, dazed. When I finally was able to control myself, the entire story came about what #3 had said and tried to do to me.
“Mom passed out colder than a frosty morn but dear Ray saw what was happening and grabbed her to keep her from falling to the floor. I pulled my ‘need help’ cord and the nurse came rushing in. She called for a cart, and rushed her to the ER. Ray pushed me in a wheelchair following her. When she finally came around, she had a wild look in her eyes and was talking incoherently. They took her straight to the psych ward where she stayed for about a week. After they treated her for a temporary emotional breakdown, she was released. Ray insisted that she come stay with us until she came to grips with what had happened. After about 2 months, she was able to return home.
Ray did some investigating and discovered that #3 had been tried, convicted and sent to the penitentiary for 25 years with no possibility of parole. It seems as though several of the other would be victims came forth with their testimony.”
Christian thought as he held Ana, another fucking asshole of off the streets. Good. I hope the bastard rots there. From what I hear, that they do to child molesters as well as wannabe’s, he better not bend down to pick up the soap in the shower.
Gail finds herself shedding tears as she makes the dough for the pie crusts and cuts up the vegetables for the stuffing. How could that bastard do that to such a sweet child? I probably shouldn’t but I feel like I must share this with Taylor. Christian walks in the kitchen, surprised to see me, sees the tears and asks me gently if I “heard”. All I could do was nod my head in the affirmative. “I am getting Ana a glass of wine….would you like for me to pour you a glass?” I tell him no thanks and he gets 2 glasses out of the cupboard, pours Ana’s wine and fills the other with orange juice and takes two Advil out of the bottle and places them on the counter for me. “Don’t fret, Gail. Ana is going to be just fine. She has all of us to take care of her.” “Thank you, Mr. Grey.” Gail remembers what Taylor said about the boss being so kind to those whom he cares for.
After Christian gets Ana settled down, Taylor hears the boss on the speaker phone giving Welch hell. “I don’t give a fuck if it is a holiday. I pay them enough money to make it worthwhile to secure this place for a few hours.” Welch tells the boss that he would get the only security guard left because all of the rest are securing his other interests. There is just one problem though….he has a family and would it be okay if he brought them with him. “I don’t give a fuck as long as they don’t tear up the place he yells and yes, they can use the pool table and play the video games. They can eat here as well. I will have Gail prepare a meal for them unless his wife wants to prepare it. Call and let Taylor know so that he can inform Gail as to what is going on.”
I swear, Taylor thinks as he hears Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams erupt at the same time. How in the hell does that bastard go from zero to ruthless son-of-a-bitch in .o5 seconds and then right back down again? I heard Ana refer to him as Mr. Mercurial once. I think that he gives new meaning to that word. Really, though, I think that he is upset about something entirely removed from this security issue. I will talk to Gail later and see if she knows anything.
He then calls Andrea and tells her to make the arrangements for the corporate jet and Charlie Tango to be available for use on Wednesday to pick up Anastasia’s family and to return them on Saturday. Both of the aircrafts will need pilots. If there is a problem, solve it and get back to me with the details. Thanks. Click-up goes the phone. Taylor has to chuckle as he says to himself, “rude bastard”.
I inform Sawyer and Ryan to be prepared for pick up at the airport for Ana’s parents on Wednesday. Charlie Tango will set down on Escala, as usual.
Grey goes back into the great room where Ana and Gail are in deep conversation. Gail informs them that lunch will be ready in about 20 minutes and Ana thanks her. “By the way, Christian, the plan for Thanksgiving is just fine. I am really looking forward to it, and thanks for including my family. Another reason why I love you so much”, I say as I plant a chaste kiss on the corner of his mouth.
“Let’s go eat before all of Gail’s food is for naught” as he looks at me with that wantonly look that I have become so familiar with. You know….the one that makes me quiver all the way down south, I say to my subconscious.” Oh, brother, my inner goddess makes a b-line to the bedroom where she has to wait patiently which is going to make her stand in the corner on her head to cool down.