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Chapter 3: A Woman of Substance

I know I can’t expect Jason to be home for at least another hour but even so I can’t help listening out for the sound of the elevator, his footsteps in the hall.

Ever since that horrible incident with Leila, I haven’t liked being in the apartment by myself and I certainly don’t want to go to sleep with the place so empty. It’s not like me to be anxious: I know it upsets Jason and I’m trying hard not to show it around him. He feels so bad that she got in, and that it all happened while he was away.

They still haven’t found her, despite Mr Grey’s vast resources and the combined expertise of Jason and Mr Welch’s team. I wouldn’t say I was close to Leila when she used to come to Escala, but she was a sweet girl: bright and curious. Not hard and brittle like some of the others. Perhaps that’s why she lasted longer than most of them – in some ways she was like Miss Steele. But only in some ways. Jason thought she was manipulative and completely obsessed with Mr Grey. I guess he was right after all. I hope he doesn’t remember the bet we took on that… or maybe I do.

I was so glad when Mr Grey found a normal girlfriend: he was so different with her. He was just… happy. There’s no other word for it, except maybe ‘in love’. He introduced her to his family for a start and I had hopes for more – much more. I really want tonight to work out – for both of them. It would be awful if he went back to that cold, emotionless, stunted way of life. And, ugh, that Lincoln woman. I do not understand why Mr Grey is friends with her. She really is unpleasant and I know for a fact that she was somehow involved in recruiting Mr Grey’s submissives. Do you know what she called her chain of beauty salons? Esclava. Sounds pretty, doesn’t it? But if you’d bothered to look up what it means, you’d know that it’s Spanish for ‘female slave’. Oh, yes, she’s got a sense of humor: a very twisted, unpleasant sense of humor. Horrible, vile woman.

If Mr Grey went back to his old ways, I don’t think I could take it – I don’t think Jason could either. He’s terribly fond of Miss Steele, although he won’t admit that either.

But there was something so special about Anastasia: she brought Mr Grey to life and when she left… well, it was awful. Just terrible to see him so broken. But… she’s given him a second chance. Jason was just as pleased as I was when he heard that they were heading down to Portland together to some art exhibition. He pretended not to be, of course, but that’s men for you – always thinking that they have to hide their emotions. Not that Jason can fool me.

I understand his reasons for wanting to stay as detached and unemotional as possible when it comes to Mr Grey. Jason says that close protection workers need to maintain some distance to keep their edge. He says that getting too close to the client affects his professional judgement. Well, that ship has sailed, in my opinion: he can pretend all he likes that this is just another job, but I know better. He uses humor as a way of deflecting the truth from what he’s really thinking and my goodness, his language is something else! It’s nothing I haven’t heard before but I’m just glad he manages to restrain himself in front of Sophie. Mostly. But when he’s with me, in bed, I see the real Jason: he’s stripped bare, and I don’t just mean of clothes, although that by itself is a delicious image. What I mean is: he doesn’t hide who he is deep down. I love the way he gives me all of himself. I know he keeps work things hidden from me, things that he’ll think will upset me, but he never hides himself, who he is. I always know exactly where I am with Jason.

And he still wants to marry me. I’m sure he thinks that one day he’ll just wear me down and I’ll give in, but we have things to resolve between us. But we’re getting closer, I think.

Finally, I hear the sounds I’ve been longing to hear.

I look up from the sofa and across the room Jason is smiling at me.

“Hey, baby.”

He looks tired. Well, that’s hardly surprising; he’s driven nearly 350 miles tonight and he was up early as usual.

“Are you hungry, darling? Can I get you something to eat?”

He shakes his head.

“Not really. I wouldn’t mind a beer. Maybe a sandwich?”

I can’t help smiling: ‘not really’ means ‘yes, but I don’t want to look like I’m demanding you leap up and bring me food’.

“Oh, well, it’s a good thing I made this chicken salad sandwich for you then, isn’t it?”

“God, I love you, Mrs Jones! I’m a damn lucky man.”

“Yes, you are. And don’t you forget it. But tell me, how did it go with Mr Grey and Miss Steele?”

He smiles and my anxiety slips a few notches.

“Well, it was touch and go. If there was anyone who was more likely to screw it up than the boss… but she’s going to give him another chance.”

I can’t help sighing with relief.

“Thank goodness for that! Did you leave him at Miss Steele’s apartment?”

“Nope: we dropped her off and came back here – I guess he wants to, I don’t know, take it slow. But he gave her back the laptop and cell phone, and he’s seeing her tomorrow. I’ll take her car back then. Although I don’t think he’s mentioned that bit to her yet.”

“Yes, she was always rather unhappy with his super generous gifts.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to be around when he mentions the car. If I am, I’ll just yell ‘incoming’ and hit the deck.”

He frowns.

“Jason! What aren’t you telling me?”

“Huh? Nothing, it’s just she’s having drinks after work with her boss – that Jack Hyde character I told you about. Cold-eyed fucking bastard.”

“I bet Mr Grey didn’t like that!”

“You could say that. I thought he was going to rip the guy’s throat out when he saw him with Ana when I picked her up from work. I’d have had to have stopped him – and I know how much you hate washing blood out of my suits.”

“How very magnanimous of you.”

“Oh, baby! I love it when you use long words. It makes me horny.”

Hmm, I’ll have to add that to the list of things that makes Jason horny: it’s quite a long list.

“Well, you know what they say, darling: cunnilingus is a real tongue twister.”

*  *  *  *

For the first time in several nights, six nights, to be exact, I’m not woken up by the boss playing that fucking maudlin shit on the piano.

Even so, I can’t sleep. Gail is lying beside me looking so damn beautiful that I want to reach out and touch her just to make sure she’s real. But I don’t want to wake her so I just lie on my side staring at her.

Eventually I decide to go and make myself a coffee even though it’s still an hour before dawn. There’s something nagging at me; some thought at the back of my brain that won’t shake free – something I’ve forgotten. It’s bugging the fuck out of me. How did Leila Williams get back into the apartment? It’s as if the answer is there, if I can just pull it out of my memory.

So I head to my office and review the security footage again.

What is it? What the fuck have I missed?

Jeez, I’m getting as OCD as the boss. I’ll be counting the number of times I say ‘fuck’ in a day next. His fifty shades of fucked up must be rubbing off on me. One. Next thing you know I’ll be firing champagne fucking corks from my ass. Two. Ok, I don’t actually have proof that the boss has done that, but I’ve seen his playroom. It features regularly in my nightmares, along with the Olympic female wrestling team and a set of anal plugs (extra large). That’s a fucking horror story waiting to happen. Three. And if I start thinking that listening to music from La Traviata is going to cheer me up, I’ll know it’s time to volunteer for that frontal lobotomy after all. I wonder if the boss’s medical insurance will cover it?

The truth is I’ve got all that shit from last night running through my head. All the boss’s horror stories from his fucked up childhood. Four. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! Five. Six. Seven. I’d guessed at most of it – it’s hard not to when the evidence is all over his body and I’ve heard those screams in the night too many times – but hearing him tell someone other than his shrink, that was hard to hear. I can’t understand how someone could do that fucked up shit to a kid. Eight. If anyone touched Sophie like that, I’d kill them. I’d hunt them down and tear their fucking eyeballs out – and I’d enjoy it. Nine. FUCK! Enough with the fucking counting or I’ll have to take my socks off! Ten. Oh, wait… Eleven.

I can’t say this dark shit to Gail, she’d totally freak out. She already thinks I’m a few shingles short of a roof. Maybe that’s why she won’t marry me. And, what’s really scary, maybe this is why I can work for the boss: I know what it’s like to have experienced horror. Show me a man – or woman – who’s done tours in the Middle East that hasn’t. You lock that shit away from normal humans. I used to think that the old me died over there… then I met Gail. But the boss – that fucked up shit happened to him when he was a kid. You don’t ever get over that: you can get on with your life, but you don’t ever get over it.

Miss Steele is taking on one fucking challenge with Grey. I’ve seen the way women look at him. Hell, I’ve seen the way some men look at him. I’ve had women coming up to me giving me their cell numbers, hoping that I’ll pass on the information to the boss (and I’m not saying I’m an egotistical guy, but that’s gonna hurt). One even embroidered her number on her panties. I couldn’t bring myself to give them to the boss… It took me a while to explain that one to Gail. But the make-up sex later was worth it. I had nail marks down my back that even made the boss look twice. Maybe it was just professional interest but I swear he nearly cracked a smile. Yup, gotta lotta tiger in my woman.

The CCTV footage reveals nothing new. Another two hours of looking at the black-and-white tapes I feel like I’ve pulled my brain out through my nostrils and reinserted through my eyeballs. It’s a bit like watching re-runs of Dora the Explorer with Sophie. I think the Ancient Egyptians used to do something like that – the weird brain shit, not Dora the Explorer. Yeah, well, no wonder it took them so long to invent the wheel.

I’m pondering on the weirdness that is my life when I hear a noise behind me and spin round, reaching for a gun I’m not wearing. Fuck! My heart rate is going fast enough to make a speed-freak dizzy.

“Anything to report, Taylor?”

I’m going to have put a bell round his neck if he’s going to start creeping around like that.

“No, sir.”

“Five minutes.”

“Yes, sir.”

See that? Not a word wasted. That’s what I call guy talk.

I head back into the staff quarters and pull on sweats and sneakers.

You know one of the things I love about Gail? She irons my sweat pants. I know it’s dumb and pointless and completely unnecessary and, let’s face it, if you ever meet a guy who irons his sweats he probably also has curtains that coordinate with his throw cushions, but I love it that Gail cares enough to do it for me. I think I love it because it’s pointless: it’s my gal looking after me. Not like The Bitch: her idea of looking after me was making sure that my best friend’s bed stayed warm while I was in Afghan.

Gail is just waking up; it’s a beautiful sight. It makes me want to muss her hair even more and remind her why she called me Marco Polo last night.

But I don’t have time. Fuck, that sucks. And I’m a poet and didn’t know it: yup, I’m just your all round Renaissance guy.

Soon, I’m pounding the streets of Seattle, hyper-aware that my Korth is keeping my ribs warm. I know the boss doesn’t approve, not that I give a shit, but I know that Gail hates it, too. And that I do care about. But asking me to leave it behind, especially while the Williams woman is on the loose, would be like asking me to take on Mia Grey without body armor.

Oh hell.

My sunny personality takes a dive when I remember I’ll be seeing Mia the Diva on Saturday – with fireworks. I wonder if the Grey’s have a foxhole in the garden.

Just bury me now.

~~~~~~~~

86 Comments Post a comment
  1. 09/29/2012

    Love it as always, this story brings a smile to my face multiple times throughout each chapter!

    Reply
    • 09/29/2012
      Jane H-B

      Happy that you’re smiling!

      Reply
  2. 09/29/2012
    Gypsy Kay

    Hahaha, I love his ‘relationship’ with Mia. Too funny. 🙂

    Reply
    • 09/29/2012
      Jane H-B

      I think she scares him. Taylor will be relieved when Ethan comes on the scene…

      Reply
  3. 09/29/2012

    Love Taylor!!! I love hearing from Gail too!! great writing, you do an amazing job with every chapter!

    Reply
    • 09/29/2012
      Jane H-B

      Glad you enjoyed some Gail, too.

      Reply
  4. 09/29/2012
    Dw

    Oh, what a treat!
    Gail’s voice is just so… well, SWEET. There is no other word for it, except may be CHARMING.
    And the Esclava reference! Back in the original FSoG ELJ just mentioned it once and let the sleeping dog lie, but not you , Jane! 😉
    Thanx – I knew I could count on you not to disappoint!

    Dw (Dorota)
    PS
    Am I going schizophrenic? I could have sworn TBM said something about posting Flynn some 2 hours ago, but (?!?) we got Gail and Taylor… not that I’m complaining – just checkin’ if my ol’eyes and brain connect properly…

    Reply
    • 09/29/2012
      Jane H-B

      You’re just bonkers, Dorota, but I love that 😉

      Reply
      • 09/29/2012
        Dw

        is it a professional diagnosis, Ms Jane?… in this case I DO need a Flynn 😛 /Dw

      • 09/30/2012
        Jane H-B

        Ha ha! You just want a private appointment with the good doctor, and not necessarily in his consulting rooms 😉

      • 09/29/2012
        pB

        SSERDDA S’NNYLF REH EVIG TSUJ – PLEH LANOISSEFFORP SDEEN YLLAER EHS TUB ECNO ROF HTURT NIALP REH DLOT ENOEMOS GT

      • 09/30/2012
        Jane H-B

        Well, now I’ve put my mirror down… do you know our lovely DW?! Maybe you and she could double-date an appointment with him?

  5. 09/29/2012
    Jackie O.

    oh amazing as always !!! love gail n taylor !!!

    Reply
    • 09/29/2012
      Jane H-B

      Aw, thanx!

      Reply
  6. 09/29/2012
    n-boston

    Nice to have a Saturday morning installment. Thanks as always for your work – we appreciate it so.
    -n-boston <— Huge Early Dark Christian fan, not that I'm hinting at anything by that comment

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      You are so hinting! But I don’t mind. I like Dark Christian, too. Got quite a few ideas for those next chapters. Ssh, don’t tell anyone!

      Reply
  7. 09/29/2012
    Mericat

    Agree with all the reviews above. I think Taylor is amazing–especially as you write him. And him n Gail–awesome. His POV is always so humorous even when he is being quite serious. Thanks. Loved it all.

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Thanks, Mericat. I think Taylor is rubbing off on Gail. Um, didn’t mean it quite like that. Or maybe I did… um…

      Reply
  8. 09/29/2012
    christina

    Reading your blog is the highlight of my day. I admire your imagination and creativity, it makes everyone and the stories seem so real, and you really care and worry about them. Anyway, I bow down to you and the blog master.

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Aw, shucks, bowing not necessary. But yes, I do care and worry about the stories. That’s why this chapter came out later than usual – I was still worrying away about it on Saturday morning when TBM ripped it from my sweating hands, metaphorically speaking.

      Reply
  9. 09/29/2012
    KrisMello

    That was excellent!!! I love Taylor! I think I have a secret crush on him all thanks to you!!! Thank you again for writing all these stories and keeping us obssesed!! 😉

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Yeah, with you there, Kris. But my crush ain’t so secret anymore!

      Reply
  10. 09/29/2012
    Nan Virden

    Great chapter! I loved the sweetness of Gail at the beginning, the compassion Jason and she have for each other and of course, his ‘gruffness’ at the end. So very cool. Just like your blog. I Love it.

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Thanks, Nan. I do love writing a bit of Gail, too. Taylor can be such a BOY!

      Reply
  11. 09/29/2012
    Brooke

    That was a great, great chapter. I like hearing Gail’s point of view every now and then. Thanks, keep those wonderful chapters coming! Thanks!

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Thanks, Brooke. Will do. Taylor needs a woman who can stand up to him – and Gail is that woman.

      Reply
  12. 09/29/2012

    This is a great chapter. It was nice hearing from Gail. Love that Taylor is scared of Mia.

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Heh heh. Yeah, but he’s got Gail to protect him. He’ll be relieved when Ethan takes her off his hands. Ok, I’ll put a Mia and Taylor scene at the masqued ball, just for you!

      Reply
  13. 09/29/2012
    Karena

    Jane you never disappoint… As always your stories are so worth the wait. I love the relationship of Gail and Taylor. I also liked the tender side of Taylor with regards to Christians childhood, made me smile when he feels sad for him and seems to have a little more sympathy Christians 50shades of f’k’dupness. ;). As always hugs from Florida

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Thanks so much, Karena. Glad you’re seeing a tender side to Taylor. Some people have read it that he hates him – and I never meant it to look like that. Just Taylor’s defensive humour.

      Reply
  14. 09/30/2012
    Roxanne

    So happy to have another chapter. Love hearing from Gail and how Taylor can be soft and feel for Christian when he hears about his childhood. He’s going to find that breach one way or another. I’m surprised it didn’t come to him in his thoughts thisnight. Thanks and hugs, Roxanne

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      He’ll be beating himself up for weeks when he works out how Leila got in. And the thought that she was standing over Ana… Gail will have a lot of soothing to do.

      Reply
  15. 09/30/2012
    Chris L

    Inspite of Taylor’s inability to figure out how to deal with Mia without offending Christan or the Greys and so the reference to body armor. Something that has always bothered me is why doesn’t Tayloe wear at least light wieght body armor at least some of the time? If Taylor gets shot he is of little help to himself or Christian.

    Nice piece of writing using Gail’s voice. I particularly liked the contrast you set up with the chapter title. Gail and Ana are women of substance. Contrasted to Elena, and perhaps Leila and Taylor’s first wife, as women of call it “emptiness”. Having a hollowness inside.

    Taylor’s compassion for Christian after overhearing some of what happened before Christian’s adoption is moving. Taylor’s willingness, which you have written of before, to view Christian’s trama as akin to the trama of many combat vets shows real wisdom no matter what Taylor says about himself.

    As always I enjoyed the details you create in telling us Gail’s and Taylor’s romance.

    Reply
    • 09/30/2012
      Jane H-B

      Interesting point about body armour. Even the most light weight is impossible to hide under a suit. Simple stab vests are bulky, too. I’d imagine that Taylor’s emphasis is on prevention by being super-careful about checking out places first. I’m sure he’ll give it some consideration when he finds out Leila has a permit for a concealed weapon (who the hell would give her that, I’ll never understand). I’m glad you caught my idea that both Gail and Ana are women of substance. And yes, he understands trauma. I wonder what help he had coming to terms with what he saw during his tours…

      Reply
  16. 09/30/2012
    Vicki

    Not much i can say that hasnt allready been said except THANKYOU!!!

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      That doesn’t matter. Just glad that you took the time. It means a lot, truly.

      Reply
  17. 09/30/2012
    nairdevi

    Love it love it love it through and through… ❤

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      Thanks a lot, Nair. And for taking the time to post 🙂

      Reply
  18. 09/30/2012
    Jo Ann

    I have just finished reading both books of Taylor’s veiw and LOVE it, keep up the good work. Can’t wait for the next chapter!!!

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      Ah, thanks, Jo Ann. I’ll be taking him (and Gail) all the way through.

      Reply
  19. 09/30/2012
    Jennifer

    Ah thank you!!! That made my morning! Love, love, love Jason and Gail!

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      They are one cute couple!

      Reply
  20. 09/30/2012
    Dawn

    Awesome — as always!

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      You are clearly a woman of sharp intellect and true wisdom 😉

      Reply
      • 10/1/2012
        Dawn

        Naturally! As are you! 🙂

      • 10/2/2012
        Jane H-B

        Indeed, m’dear. 😉

  21. 09/30/2012
    Marisol

    as usual, great writing & just enough humor. I love that you mentioned the true meaning of Esclava … i always thought it ironic & my friends & i discussed the depravity behind it. thank you for your blog, it’s always a pleasure!!

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      Thanks, Marisol. A nice little touch by ELJ. I don’t think she gets enough credit for the detail she adds.

      Reply
  22. 10/1/2012
    Holly

    What a treat we got Gail too! Great chapter as always. Thank!!! You!!!!

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012
      Jane H-B

      Ah, yes. We needed some of Gail’s sharp wit to stand up to Mr T!

      Reply
  23. 10/1/2012
    heather1988

    This chapter so made my morning!!! I love your writing its awesome. Keep em coming 😉

    Reply
    • 10/2/2012
      Jane H-B

      I’ll be glad to oblige 😉

      Reply
  24. 10/1/2012

    bell round his neck tht make my day is to funny!! thank u Jane always doing great job:)

    Reply
    • 10/1/2012

      MIA the Diva love how Taylor feel about her..just dont putting a room w her cause he going hate u to dead..LOL

      Reply
      • 10/2/2012
        Jane H-B

        Is that a challenge?! Ha, just you wait!

      • 10/2/2012

        THT would crazy challenge..LOL
        yep can wait

      • 10/3/2012
        Jane H-B

        You got it!

      • 10/3/2012

        WOOOPIEES!!

    • 10/2/2012
      Jane H-B

      Yeah, I liked that line 😉

      Reply
      • 10/2/2012

        yes..I imaged Taylor face..LOL

  25. 10/3/2012
    sylvia

    “Show me a man – or woman – who’s done tours in the Middle East that hasn’t.” .. what is with you and the middle east ? and it is Afgha-fucking-nistan.

    Reply
    • 10/3/2012
      Jane H-B

      I’m interested in ex-servicemen and women and the way it effects them. I think it colours their world-view – as it does Taylor.

      Reply
  26. 10/3/2012
    Ebonie

    Great chapter as always and loving the new story

    Reply
    • 10/3/2012
      Jane H-B

      Got your one-shot coming up, sweetie.

      Reply
  27. 10/3/2012
    patty

    Just tore through the last few chapters of book 1 and finished what is published in book 2. I am loving it! I look forward to more 🙂

    Reply
    • 10/3/2012
      Jane H-B

      Excellent! Thanks, Patty.

      Reply
  28. 10/3/2012
    jaime

    Totally intrigues by your writings. When can we expect Chapter 4 of Taylor book 2?

    Reply
    • 10/4/2012
      Jane H-B

      Hmm, good question. I’ll have to ask the writer… oh, wait, that’s me. Um, late on the weekend, maybe. Next week, for sure.

      Reply
      • 10/6/2012
        Charmie

        I am begging…. Please Jane… I want more….. more please….

      • 10/6/2012

        You Know Charmie,
        TBM may just have some persuasion in this equation.
        You can suck up to me if you want! You never know you luck in a big city.

      • 10/7/2012
        Jane H-B

        I love it when you beg 😉

  29. 10/5/2012
    Judy

    Thanks for the new chaprter, but still wanting more ):
    cannot wait for more.

    Aussie Judy

    Reply
    • 10/5/2012
      Jane H-B

      Hiya, Aussie J! Just wondering, how much would be enough? 😉

      Reply
  30. 10/5/2012
    Rach

    Loved reading Taylor’s POV you have done a great job, hope theres more to come 😀

    Reply
    • 10/6/2012
      Jane H-B

      Always more!

      Reply
  31. 10/5/2012

    love this story glad you are writing it. gives a sence of what was really going on. just love it

    Reply
    • 10/6/2012
      Jane H-B

      Lovely comment. Thank you.

      Reply
  32. 10/7/2012
    Melanie Lorenz

    I love to hear from Gayle’s pov. She cares about Jason so much. And Jason’s pov he loves her. This was a GREAT chapter. Can’t wait for the next one.

    Reply
    • 10/8/2012
      Jane H-B

      Yes, they’re a great couple – I love writing them.

      Reply
  33. 10/9/2012
    Marta

    Yep, another chapter and another big LOVE IT!

    Reply
    • 10/9/2012
      Jane H-B

      BIG thank you!

      Reply
  34. 10/9/2012
    Sarah

    Love this has taken me all day just to read from start to finish (all chapters) 🙂

    Reply
  35. 10/10/2012
    pB

    finished reading taylor on this chapter last w/end. must say i don’t get the craze on fifty. all those millions women out there should be gushing on taylor instead: doesn’t talk much. appreciates his food. knows his vehicles & his guns. is loyal. loves his kid. keeps his woman’s figure in shape. can summarise situation using army terms &/or cultural references. ideal 21st century icon.

    Reply
    • 10/11/2012
      Jane H-B

      Yes! Taylor is THE man. He IS the man. He is the MAN!

      Reply
  36. 11/20/2012

    What can i say that hasn’t already been said, I just love it, and they do make a wonderful couple 🙂 … thank you Jane

    Reply
    • 11/21/2012
      Jane H-B

      Ah, thank you!

      Reply

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