ALL OF THESE CHARACTERS BELONG TO ELJAMES
Christian and Ana: A PROMISE FULFILLED
Ana and I are so used to getting up around the same time every morning, when we have a chance to sleep in a bit later, our bodies send us wake up “alarms”. We turn to face each other. I look at my beautiful, sleepy eyed angel and tell her “hi”. She snuggles up to me and says, “hi, back”. I gather her in my arms and we say a proper good morning to each other. I don’t care what anybody says, sometimes, plain old “vanilla” is just what the doctor ordered.
When we are both sated, we just lay cuddling with each other. “ Hungry?”, Ana asks me. I tell her that I can eat but we should start getting ready first with neither of us wanting to get up. We start talking about the new house and how we want to decorate it. Ana tells me that she wants to put in an elevator to the apartment above the massive garage for Gail and Taylor. Surprised that Ana wants to spend that kind of money, I say to my earth angel, “Well, well! You are finally getting used to the idea that you are going to be wealthy” “Not really”, she says, “I just want to make it convenient for Gail and Taylor”. “How thoughtful you are. Let’s talk to them about it. I had something else in mind but we will let them decide.
Time to get up lazy bones. We want to be ready when the ball crusher and company get here”. Ana starts laughing and crawls out of bed. Who’s showering first?”, she asks. I ask her why we can’t shower together, thinking that maybe we could have a quick breakfast appetizer. Ana looks at me and reads my mind. “I can’t help it, Ana. I just love you so much, I want all of you all of the time. I want to be as close to you as possible”. She looks at me with those beautiful eyes and says sweetly, “you, my precious 50, do not need to apologize to me at all. I want you just as much as you want me because I love you just as much as you love me. I am yours, Christian, whenever you want me. Don’t ever forget that”. “And I am yours, baby, forever and always. This is my pre-wedding promise to you.”
After a light breakfast, I pulled out what I had printed on some information on the church that we were going to attend this morning. I just knew that the ball crusher, and Mia, too, as far as that goes, were going to interrogate me as to how I managed to come up with this church. I told Ana that discovered that what I had heard was actually true. I read to Ana, the information that I had found on one of the search engines.
“Resulting from the convergence of the Pilgrim Congregational Church and the Seattle First Christian Church, the All Pilgrims Christian Church has a standing of its own today. The church is functioned and guided by the Coordinating Council and is involved with a number of community welfare programs. Distinguished by its diverse congregation of parishioners, the church reflects the diversity of the Capitol Hill area. The beautifully architectured interiors of the church are perfect to host weddings. Apart from the church office and the chapel, the church building also houses the Stuart Hall and the Dickson Room, which are used for the church meetings and congregational activities.”
“Oh Christian, that sounds like something you’d be interested in. So concerned about the less fortunate. That is just one of the reasons why I am so in love with you”, she says as she plants a chaste kiss on the corner of my lips. “You keep that up and we won’t make it to church”, I say with a hint of being serious. Suddenly, I find Ana’s arms around my neck, kissing me passionately. The front of my trousers quickly forms into a tent just as Taylor appears and informs us that our expected guests are here. I look at my watch. “Damn”. I say. It is just 10 after 10. I told them to be here at 10:30. “Anastasia”, I say trying to sound irritated, “Look what you’ve done”.
She starts to giggle as the tent in my pants slowly gets back to its normal non saluting self. “After brunch at my parents, we have some business to take care of”. Before my earth angel has a chance to respond, our guests enter, with my baby sister leading the charge in her excited mode.
“Hi Christian. Hi Ana. I am so excited. I told mom and dad and they are so happy that we are goingto church together. Taylor, are you going in with us?” Yes, ma’m, Taylor says with his usual impassive look. “Oh, goody, you can sit next to Ethan and me.” “No, ma’m. Sawyer, Ryan and I will be in the back, ma’m.”
He looks at me and informs me that he and the security team will be taking separate vehicles. He will be driving us and the other two will follow. I give him my nod of approval. “Since we will all be away, I had Welch send over a security guard from Grey House. GEH is still adequately protected, sir. “That’s fine, Taylor. Thank you.”
As expected, Kate goes into her investigative reporter mode and starts with the expected inquisition. I provide her with the information that I have obtained and that seems to satisfy her curiosity…..for now anyway. I swear, someday, that woman is going to win the Pulitzer Prize for the top and best Investigative Reporter, EVER! Poor Lelliot sure has his hands full with this one. I am beginning to become more tolerant of her though.
Ana has shared with me how they became so close. Seems as though she and Kate were getting in line to get their room assignments. Ana, being typical Ana, somehow, tripped over air. She went one way, her books went another way and she managed to bump into Kate and her computer, which luckily was protected by a pretty good padded bag, and everybody and everything, ended up landing in a heap on the floor.
Those who saw the commotion started snickering, trying to keep from all out laughing. I can only imagine what the two of them looked like. Anyway, Kate very graciously retrieved her composure, got up and assisted Ana in getting up. They both went about the task of picking up everything that had ended up on the floor with them.
When the task was completed, Kate started giving everyone that “crack a smile and I promise, I will play twist and shout with your balls and tits” look. Ana said they must have gotten the message because everyone pretended they didn’t even see us. There was this one exception, though.
This handsome young man, by the name of Jose, came over and made sure that we were ok and all of our body parts were where they should be. He offered his assistance by taking the ball crusher’s laptop and some of her books. When it was their turn to be assigned a room, they were asked if they had a preference of a roommate. Before Ana, could answer, Kate spoke up and said, “Yes. We are together.” Ana didn’t know what to say so she said nothing and thought, this is going to be interesting. We don’t even know each other; however, she got the feeling that she had known Kate forever.
After they got their room assignments and took their things to deposit them, Jose suggested they get some lunch and walk around campus to become familiar with the buildings where their classes would be. She and Kate were taking the same major. Jose was majoring in Engineering. During lunch, Kate told Ana that she really was glad that “we are roommates.” What she didn’t say was that she felt as though Ana needed to be protected and she was volunteering for the job. At least this is what she shared with Elliot. The three of them became inseparable and the rest is history. It just makes me feel closer to Kate, knowing that she, too, loves Ana.
As we head down the elevator, Elliot asks me, “What have you done now, lil’ bro?” I look at him and ask him what he meant? “The paparazzi is hanging around like vultures circling some half dead prey.” “Got engaged, I guess. Do they really need a reason other than working the hell out of my nerves?” I retort. “Oh well” says Elliot, “They have to make a living too.” “Yea, but at whose expense.” “Come on, bro’….at what price glory?” I tell Elliot to drop it and they all start laughing.
I hear Taylor radio Sawyer and Ryan and let them know that we are probably going to be followed by the paparazzi and “don’t try to lose them. We will cooperate, as long as they don’t go into attack mode.”
I hear Taylor’s conversation and commands and wonder how on earth did I luck up and get Taylor and Ana, and the family that I have? Another reason why I need to lay my gratitude at the altar.
As Taylor pulls in front of the All Pilgrims Christian Church, the paparazzi leave their vehicles in the street and jump out with camera’s flashing. Ana and I exit the vehicle first so that the others have a chance to get into the church without being bombarded.
I give them a wave and a smile as they barrage me with questions. By this time, Sawyer and Ryan, flank Ana on one side and me on the other and hustle us into the church. The church ushers stop the paparazzi from entering with their cameras. This group seems to be somewhat considerate and is satisfied with the pictures that they have obtained of Ana and me.
The others are waiting just inside the doors for us. As we walk in and are ushered to our seats, nobody pays any attention to us and are as friendly to us as they are to everyone. I feel lucky that we got there early enough to be seated together.
The church fills up quickly and the choir fills the choir stand as the musicians start playing. The music fills the large sanctuary with beautiful melodious sounds and the choir starts singing a “welcome song”. I gather that the name of it is, Welcome into this place. Whatever it is, it is beautiful. As I listen to the well rehearsed music, I get an idea. I will discuss it with Elliot and Mia later.
The minister seems genuine and sincere as he preaches about how we will always have the poor among us which is a direct quote from Jesus when he was telling the disciples that they would not always have him. He then recites what Mother Teresa said once:
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. … Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces … Each one of them is Jesus in disguise”.
It is my understanding that this is just what this church is trying to do and I feel moved to assist them with their mission.
After services are over, I tell the others to go with Taylor to pick up their vehicles and Ana and I will meet them over to mom and dad’s in about 30 minutes. Without question, they pile into the larger SUV. The paparazzi is still hanging around and are so busy looking for Ana and me that they don’t even see the others as they hustle away with Taylor.
The pastor is greeting the members and guests as they exit, while Ana and I hang back. When everyone is out of the sanctuary, we walk up to him and I introduce Ana and myself to him. We shake hands and he says that he is very happy that we chose his church to attend on this beautiful Lord’s Day.
I thank him and let him know how much we enjoyed the services. “Your sermon really touched me and I would like to make a sizable donation to your efforts of feeding the hungry.” I then ask him if he will accept it. He reaches to shake my hand again and tells me that they can always use help in feeding the masses, as many as they can.
He invites us into the office. I explain to him that the reason why I am doing this, is that I have been very blessed and I want to show my gratitude, thinking about not only the wonderful people in my life but Charlie Tango as well.
I ask him if he can show us where he feeds the people. He ushers us to the feeding area which is very nice but could use some updating with state of the art equipment, more like our kitchen is going to be in the new house. That would probably cost between 10 and 20 thousand dollars, but I say nothing.
We go back to his office and I pull out my checkbook from the inside of my suit jacket. I ask him if he will please write down what I am going to request, if he would so approve. He readily agrees.
The first thing that I ask is that the kitchen be updated with state of the art equipment. The next thing that I ask is that he purchases a brand new church bus that will seat 40-50 people so that he can pick up people to bring them to have their meals.The last thing that I am going to request is that he put two plaques somewhere in the eating area and one on the bus. I then tell him how I would like for them to read: “ IN MEMORY OF MY LOVING MOTHER, ELLA”. The other, “IN HONOR OF MY LOVING PARENTS DR. GRACE TREVELYAN GREY AND ATTORNEY CARRICK GREY. I would like for them to be in solid gold. There should be at the very least, 100 empty plates so that anyone who wants to honor the memory of loved ones, can purchase a plate for an agreed amount from the Trustees, although this should be left up to the donor as to how much they want to donate.
The minister, by now, is sitting with his face set in a ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, expression’. I glance over at Ana and she is shedding tears, fighting to keep from letting out sobs. I take her hand and give it a squeeze.
I continue the list with Ana’s mom and Ray under the “In Honor Of” column. I then proceed to write out a check for 2 million dollars. Spend whatever you need to feed as many as you possibly can. Every year, you can expect this amount from GEH, which is my company, for the next 5 years. It will arrive on my mother’s birthday every year.
At the conclusion of the five year period, I will have my grant writers write a grant for you to be able to continue with the works that you have started. Oh, one more thing. I would like to have the kitchen open seven days a week, 365 days a year from 7 in the morning until 7 at night. You are going to have to staff it with the employees that you choose from the homeless people in and around the Seattle area. Most of them will have to be trained. I will have my training company get in touch with you this week. You are going to need six bus drivers, and 2 secretaries. All of the employees will be paid $25 dollars an hour with double time on Saturdays and triple time on Sundays and holidays. They will also receive full benefits and starting with this year, they will receive a sizable bonus at Christmas. On holidays, they will work three hour shifts so that their holidays are not tied up working unless they chose to do so. The cooks and servers will work the same hours. In addition, all of your employees will have full insurance coverage which will be in addition to their salaries.
Here is my card. The one secretary will manage the entire operation, and will report only to you. The other secretary will report to my personal assistant, Andrea and will be responsible for getting all time sheets to her. You will receive the paychecks weekly on Mondays at first and then we will see about changing that to a Friday. People have a tendency to come to work on Monday’s if they don’t get paid until then. I will let you know about the vacation days later. I will also supply you with 2 new Audi SUV’s, insured in the church’s name so that everyone, when they obtain their driver’s licenses, will be able to run errands as you deem necessary.. You or whomever you designate will be responsible for all funds. Oh, and you will receive a salary for being the overseer.
You will also be in charge of finding someone to try to place as many people as possible in jobs. I don’t want anyone to earn any less than $18 dollars an hour. Start with my companies first. I will have Andrea send you a list. I want everyone who wants to work, to be able to do so.
The last thing that I am going to request is that you sign a NDA which is a non disclosure agreement. No one is to know who is responsible for this. No publicity what so ever. Will you agree to this, pastor?
The pastor chuckles and says, “Only a fool would not. Yes sir, Mr. Grey, you have my word”. Okay, then. I will have the documents sent over by courier tomorrow morning. Our business here is concluded. Thank you for accepting my offer.”
The minister rises and says to Christian, “God bless you sir and thank you ever so much.” I smile and say to him, “He already has, sir. Good day to you.”
As we walk out to our vehicles from having a really relaxing time at my parent’s luncheon, I take my angel’s hand and say, “It’s been a good day, Anastasia…It’s been a good day.”