Chapter 9 - Happily Ever After... and Epilogue

“Mom? Are you at the hospital?”

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to get a worrying phone call out of the blue from one of their children. I instantly got goose bumps at the note of panic I could detect in my son’s voice.

“Yes, Christian. Why, whatever’s the matter?”

“It’s Ana. She’s been hurt and we’re on our way in the ambulance. Can you meet us in the ER?”

My heart missed a beat, but I knew I had to remain calm, so I called on my professional experience to quell the rising panic I felt.

“Yes, of course, but what do you mean Ana’s hurt? Is she okay?”

“I… I don’t know how bad it is, Mom. She’s unconscious.”

That didn't sound good.

“Oh Christian! What on earth happened?”

My first thought was that perhaps she’d been in a car accident.

“I’ll fill you in with the details at the hospital, if you can meet us there?”

“Yes, yes, of course. I’ll be there waiting.”

Christian looked shocked and pale when I met them in the ER a few minutes later, having hurriedly called a colleague to stand in for me.  Christian stubbornly refused to let go of Ana’s hand as the ER team started their examination, but he was getting in their way.

“Just let them get on with what they need to do, Christian,” I gently persuaded him as I led him a short distance away. “Trust me, they are the experts. Do you honestly think I’d let anyone but the best near my daughter-in-law?”  I knew Heather Bartley was an excellent doctor, and I had every confidence in her team.

Christian watched like a hawk as the nurse cut Ana’s clothes off so that they could examine her properly, and then removed her jewelry for safe keeping.

“Not her wedding ring. We never take our wedding rings off,” he insisted, and then watched as her ring was securely taped in place.

“So are you going to tell me what’s been going on?” Naturally I wanted to find out what had happened, but I also wanted to keep Christian occupied and out of the way for a few minutes.

“It seems that Hyde, the f... the man who tried to kidnap her before, somehow managed to get released on bail, and we think he was blackmailing or threatening Ana in some way. We think she was meeting up with him to hand over the money when somehow he ended up being shot and Ana ended up unconscious.”

“But I thought she had her own designated protection officer…”

I’d always assumed it would be virtually impossible for anyone to get near Ana, because of Christian’s insistence that she had to be escorted at all times by members of his elite security team.

“She does, but for some reason she saw fit to deal with this on her own, and managed to give Sawyer the slip. I’m not exactly sure what happened, because I was away in Portland on business when this all kicked off. We’re still trying to piece it all together.”

Knowing how Christian kept such close tabs on Ana, I thought it odd that he didn't know what had been going on. I sensed that he wasn’t being totally honest with me, but I let it pass for now.
I could see that he was desperately worried about his beloved Ana, and he only agreed to let her out of his sight for a while when I was allowed to go with her for some urgent tests to be carried out.  I was reassured that at least all her vital signs were stable, and that she didn't appear to have any obvious serious injuries. However, as Ana was showing no signs of regaining consciousness yet, it was crucially important for the medical team to assess the extent of her head injuries.


Ana, the darling sweet girl who had wrought about such a change in my son.

She looked so young and vulnerable as she lay there, oblivious to all the scans and tests being carried out on her. I looked on her as a daughter now; we’d become very close since we’d started meeting up regularly for lunch. I’d been keeping up a brave front to reassure Christian, but now I anxiously waited for the results of the tests. I thought it best to get these first before we contacted Ana’s parents, and then hopefully we might have some positive news for them to soften the blow about this vicious attack on her.

I scanned through Ana’s medical notes while I waited. As I read them, I thought I must have picked up the wrong set.

‘Husband advises patient is pregnant. Exact gestation unknown but thought to be in the region of four to five weeks’.

I double checked, but these were definitely the correct notes for Mrs. Anastasia Grey. But that meant….

Pregnant? Ana was pregnant? They were expecting a baby?

Heather Bartley noticed my shocked expression.

“I take it you didn't know you were going to be a grandmother?”

“No… I didn't think a baby was on the cards for quite a few years, actually.”

“It’s very early days, so I expect they only just found out themselves and wouldn’t have had a chance to tell you yet. Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that the results of your daughter-in-law’s tests are all clear; no major injuries, just a hairline fracture to her skull, and her ribs are only bruised, not cracked.  Although she suffered a major contusion to her head, thankfully there are no signs of cerebral edema, and her brain activity is normal. Her vital signs are stable and strong, and there are no indications of any problems with the pregnancy. She’ll no doubt have one heck of a headache when she wakes up, and she’s going to feel very bruised and sore for a while, but she’s young and fit so I see no reason why she shouldn’t  make a full recovery. ”

 “Thank goodness for that. I’m not sure how my son would have coped otherwise. They’ve only been married a short while and are very much in love. He’s very protective of her.”

“Yes, the fact that he had to be practically torn from her side was rather a give away,” Heather smiled.

“I just don’t understand how this could have happened, because the man who did this to her was meant to be in police custody, as far as we all knew.  But no doubt we’ll get to the bottom of things once my husband gets involved.”

Carrick was in court, so I’d left a message for him after I received Christian’s call, and I was sure he’d be making his way over to the hospital just as soon as he could. I also knew he wouldn’t rest until he found out why this Hyde character had been released on bail, when he clearly posed such a danger to Ana, having already made a previous attempt to kidnap her. Carrick had been reluctant at first to fill me in on all the details about this, but had finally had to open up to explain why our son felt it necessary to order increased security for all our family. I'd secretly felt that Christian was overreacting, as he tends to do in these matters, seeing as Jack Hyde was in custody. Now it had been brought home to me only too vividly that he had been right to be so worried.

 The news about Ana’s pregnancy still hadn't sunk in.  I couldn’t imagine this had been planned, which had probably freaked my son out because of his strong need to control every aspect of his life, but at least it was hardly as if having a baby was going to cause them financial hardship was it? No doubt it had been a shock, but I wondered if they realized how incredibly lucky they were to have effortlessly conceived a baby. 

Probably not, I decided, because unlike me, they hadn't experienced the heartache of desperately longing for a baby more than anything else in the world, but being unable to have this wish fulfilled. My emotions got the better of me, and I could feel my tears welling at the thought of holding their new born baby in my arms for the first time, having never been lucky enough to experience that for myself.

A baby.

I couldn’t think of any better news, now that I knew Ana should make a full recovery from her injuries. As we headed back, I decided I’d just have to play things by ear to see how Christian was coping with the prospect of being a father, and do my level best to help him adjust to this change in their circumstances.

Christian hurried over as soon as he saw us returning, fear etched all over his beautiful face.

 “The scan showed no serious problems. I’ll let Doctor Bartley go through all the details, but Ana should be fine,” I quickly put him out of his misery. “And Christian, I read her medical notes. So I know… I know she’s pregnant.”

By the look of sheer panic that crossed his face, which he tried unsuccessfully to hide from me, it was obvious that he was not at all happy about this, as I suspected.

“Oh Christian! I take it this wasn’t a planned pregnancy?”

“No, it wasn’t. Ana forgot to get her shot.”

“I see. So no doubt this has come as a bit of a shock for you both?”

“You could say that.”

But before we could discuss things any further, Carrick came rushing in.

“I was in court, so I only just heard. How is Ana?”

“Unconscious but stable. The results of her tests were all positive; no signs of any major problems,” I started to fill him in, but before I could elaborate any further, he took me to one side.

“That’s wonderful news. But there have been some other developments that you need to be made aware of, that I was told about while you were busy with Ana and Christian ….


“Mia? But how?”

‘It seems that under Hyde’s instructions, his accomplice abducted Mia as she was leaving her gym earlier today. Hyde then contacted Ana and demanded five million dollars ransom money, threatening to harm Mia if she didn't comply with his orders to the letter within the specified time. He also instructed her that she was to tell no one what she was doing.”

I struggled to make sense of what Carrick was telling me. I knew he’d given in to Mia’s insistence that she didn't need the close protection officer that Christian had provided for her, because he’d thought that Hyde was safely locked away in custody and no longer posed a threat. Surely whoever stood bail for him must have known he was dangerous?

“Hyde actually had Mia?”

“Yes. The police found her in the derelict house where he’d been hiding out. She’s been drugged, but she doesn't seem to have been hurt otherwise - in any case they’re bringing her in for a full examination to be on the safe side. We can go and meet her now that we know Ana isn’t too seriously injured.”

“Yes, of course. But there is something else you need to know.  Carrick, there is the most wonderful news. You are going to be a grandfather….”


Even in her hazy drug-induced state, my daughter was livid at what had happened to her, but it seemed that because she’d been abducted by Jack Hyde’s accomplice, she hadn't actually had much contact with him before Ana had arrived with the ransom money, and there was no evidence that she had been harmed by him in any other way. Thankfully, she was given the all clear to go home, once I promised to closely monitor her until the drugs had completely worn off. If I hadn't been a doctor, she would have had to stay in to be monitored, but I pulled strings to get her home, where I was sure she would recover far more quickly, knowing how much Mia hated hospitals.

 I felt very torn.  I wanted to be with Christian, to support him while he kept his bedside vigil, as he anxiously waited for Ana to regain consciousness.

“Don't worry. Once I've got you both settled in at home, I’ll come back to the hospital and sit with Christian. Maybe by then Ana will have come round,” Carrick promised.

“Okay, but please tell Christian I’ll return just as soon as I can. We can take it in turns to watch Mia - by morning the drug should be pretty much out of her system anyway.  I don't want him to feel we’ve abandoned him in his hour of need,” I worried. “I didn't even get a chance to talk to him properly about Ana being pregnant, and I could see that he wasn’t coping very well about it.”

“I’ll talk to him, Grace. It might be better coming from me - man to man, father to father, that kind of thing. And you know, now I've gotten over the initial shock at the prospect of becoming a Grandpa, I think Ana falling pregnant could be the best thing to happen to Christian. Maybe it’s best the decision to start a family has been taken out of his hands, because otherwise I don't know if he would ever have felt ready.  A baby will be another step in getting him to open up and embrace his emotions and feelings, to build on the incredible progress he’s already made since he met Ana. There’s nothing more powerful than the parenting instinct once it kicks in, is there?”

“Have I ever told you that you are a very wise man, Mr. Grey?”

“Not often enough, Mrs. Grey.”


I made sure both of Ana’s parents were filled in with all the details about her medical condition following the attack, but I didn’t break the news about her pregnancy. I felt that should be left for the young couple to do, when they felt the time was right. A lot of couples prefer to wait until they’ve had their twelve week scan, because then they know everything is fine before telling everyone. This was Christian and Ana's decision to make, not mine.

When I was sure that Mia was doing well, and could be safely left under the watchful eye of her father once he’d returned from sitting with Christian and caught up with some sleep, I hurried back to the hospital after finding out from Carrick how he was coping.

“Christian has stayed by Ana’s side all night. I tried to persuade him to go home and get some rest, but he refused to leave her even for a few minutes. He’s worried that Ana still hasn’t come round yet. And you were right, he is really freaked out about this pregnancy, even more than I expected. He doesn't think he has it in him to be a good father, so I tried to reassure him that everyone feels that way at first. But you know what he’s like; he has such a negative self image.”

“I know,” I sighed. “I’ll try talking to him as well, but I think only Ana really stands a chance of getting through to him. I hope she comes round soon; I have to admit I'm concerned, because I’d have expected her to have woken up by now. Of course I won't be telling Christian that.”

“Ana was incredibly brave in what she did to save Mia. She put herself at risk for our family and we owe her so much,” Carrick said emotionally. “When I think what might have happened, how things might have turned out…”

“Yes, I know. Ana was foolhardy, especially in her condition, and yet what else could she do? We have a lot to be thankful to her for.” 


“Why hasn’t she woken up yet?”

 That’s the first thing Christian said when I walked in, as he looked up from where he sat next to her bed, holding her hand. He looked dreadful. He clearly hadn't slept, he was unshaven, and still in the same clothes he’d been wearing from the day before. He’s always so immaculately groomed, so it shocked me to see him looking so disheveled.

“She will, darling. Her body just needs her to rest right now, to allow her to recover,” I tried to reassure him, secretly disappointed to see that she was still unconscious as I looked over at her.

“I just wish… I wish I could turn the clock back. I behaved so badly when she told me she was pregnant. I said some horrid things to her.”

He looked tormented, and I really felt for Ana. I knew only too well what Christian was like when he was in one of his terrible tempers, and how cruel he could be when he verbally lashed out.  

“We all say things in the heat of the moment we don’t mean. I’m sure Ana understands that.” I hoped that was true; I hoped he hadn't pushed her too far.

“I accused her of getting pregnant on purpose.”

“Because she didn't keep the appointment for her contraceptive shot?” Christian nodded. “Well maybe she had other things on her mind with everything that's happened to the poor girl lately, thanks to this lunatic man Hyde.  And don't forget that her father was very ill in hospital last week.”

Christian just nodded, not denying that he had acted badly. I hoped Ana understood her husband well enough by now, to understand that he acted this way when he was scared and felt out of control.

To me, learning that a baby on the way was the most welcome news in the world, but to my son, I guessed that an unplanned pregnancy, this loss of control over such an important aspect of his life, would be enough to trigger all his old feelings of rage, frustration and fear brought on by the helplessness he'd felt when he'd had to endure such terrible abuse in his early childhood. And no doubt poor Ana had borne the brunt of his wrath.

But Christian needed to grow up and face a few facts. He was a married man with responsibilities. He could no longer act the wild, unreasonable teenager, throwing a tantrum when things didn't go exactly as planned. He’d wanted to marry Ana and had willingly committed himself to everything marriage entailed.  He’d promised to support her through good times and bad, whatever life threw at them, and now he needed to live up to that promise, to prove they weren't just empty words. He was Ana’s husband, and now he was going to be a father. It was time to point out a few home truths to my son.

“If Ana is already over five weeks pregnant, it wouldn't have made any difference even if she had kept her appointment. It seems to me the shot failed, or at least ran out earlier than it should have done. These things happen. No contraceptive is completely foolproof, or one hundred percent reliable.”

“I know. I’d pretty much worked that out for myself,” he sighed.

“So surely you talked this through with Ana?”


“Why ever not, Christian?”

“We had a huge row and we weren’t talking.”

“What do you mean you weren’t talking?” I stared at him, determined to get to the bottom of things. “What did you do?”


“Christian! What did you do?”

“I was so angry…”  I could see that he was filled with remorse at his actions. At least that was a step in the right direction. He wasn’t putting all the blame on Ana still.

“Hey, things can't be that bad, surely?” I put my arm round his shoulders, pleased to see that he didn't shy away from this contact.

“I stormed off. You know, the way I used to when I was a teenager?” 

I remembered that only too well.  He’d shout and swear and slam doors before he’d disappear to cool off somewhere, while I worried myself sick until he turned up back at home.

“Where did you go?”

“I tried to go and see John Flynn, to calm myself down and start making sense of it all, but he wasn't there. So I just walked and walked, and eventually somehow found myself outside Elena’s salon. She was just locking up and… well, we ended up going for a drink together.”

“Christian! How could you? After everything… after what happened at your birthday party?” I was horrified. Elena Lincoln was the last person I felt my son should have turned to.

“She said she wanted to apologize, and at that moment I just thought of her as an old friend I could talk to. But I didn't talk about me and Ana - well, not about the unplanned pregnancy anyway - I didn't tell her anything about our personal life. But I did tell her marrying Ana was the best thing I ever did and that I loved my wife very much indeed. I even told her Ana wanted a family, so finally she got the message that she had no place in my life anymore. After we parted ways, she sent a text telling me she understood and that I’d make a great father. I stayed out, carried on drinking and ended up blind drunk before going home. Somehow, Ana ended up seeing that text, and she went ballistic. She thinks I betrayed her by seeing Elena and that I told her about the baby, even though I didn’t. That’s what the huge argument was about."

“You told me you’d cut all ties.”

“I know. But seeing her finally put it all in perspective for me. You know… with the child. For the first time I felt… what we did… it was wrong.”

“What she did, darling… Children will do that to you. Make you look at the world in a different light.”

“She finally got the message… and so did I… I hurt Ana,” Christian whispered.

“We always hurt the ones we love, darling. You’ll have to tell her you’re sorry. And mean it and give her time.”

“She said she was leaving me.”

“Did you believe her?”

“At first, yes.”

“Darling, you always believe the worst of everyone, including yourself. You always have. Ana loves you very much, and it’s obvious you love her.”

“She was mad at me.”

“I’m sure she was. I'm pretty mad at you right now. I think you can only be truly mad at someone you really love.”

“I thought about it, and she’s shown me over and over how much she loves me… to the point of putting her own life in danger.”

“Yes, she has, darling.”

“Oh, Mom, why won't she wake up? I nearly lost her.”

All I could see in front of me now was a scared little boy,  so I wrapped him in my arms as he started sobbing.

“Sshh now, everything will be just fine. Ana will come round soon. Then you two can begin working through this sorry mess you’ve gotten yourselves into. And you will, because I know you really love each other. Just learn from your mistakes to turn all this into something positive.”

“I couldn’t bear it if she….”

“Hush now, no more talk like that. You have everything to look forward to. A whole new wonderful future together, with your own family.”

“But I’m scared I won't know how to be a good father. I'm not ready for this.”

“Of course you’re scared, that’s only to be expected.  But just be yourself, Christian, because I know you have so much love to give. And is anyone ever really ready for a family until it actually happens? Do you know how lucky you are to have this precious gift of a baby, regardless of whether it was planned or just a happy accident?”

“But I wanted to show Ana so much, take her to so many places. And she’s so young - she’s only just finished college and started her job. She’s very talented and I think she’s secretly quite ambitious. We’re both too young.”

“Biologically speaking, you and Ana are the perfect ages to have a baby. Believe me, so many couples think they can leave starting a family until later, only to find they have problems when time is not on their side. And it is possible to combine a career and raising a family. I should know, after all,” I smiled at him. 

I worked part time, job shared, found all sorts of ways to bring up my family without giving up my career, although I don’t deny it wasn't always easy balancing the demanding job of being a doctor with the needs of my family. 

“In many ways Ana has a perfect job, because unlike me, she can work from home to fit around the baby’s schedule. And don’t forget, you’re going to have grandparents nearby who will be only too happy to babysit for you, whenever you want to go out. In fact, I think we shall be insisting on it.”

“Thanks, Mom. I guess you’re right.”

“And it’s not as if an unplanned pregnancy is going to cause you any financial hardship, is it? Ana is in the fortunate position of choosing if she wants to work or not. Either way, your child will want for nothing.”

To my surprise, Christian had not yet pushed me away as I continued to hold him in my arms to comfort him.

 “It’s taken twenty four years for you to let me hold you like this,” I sighed, as I stroked his lovely soft copper hair.

“I know, Mom. You’ve really helped me to put things a bit more into perspective. I’m glad we talked.”

“Me too, darling. I'm always here. I can't believe I'm going to be a grandmother.”

I stayed for a while longer, relieved that Christian seemed a lot calmer, before I returned home.

As I left, I was certain that once Ana woke up and they could talk things through, their deep love for one another would see them through this rocky patch in their marriage.

I was over the moon when Carrick received a call from Christian to say that Ana had finally regained consciousness, that she seemed fine and was asking for food - always a good sign. I appreciated the call I received in the morning from Prita Singh, who had taken over from Heather Bartley, updating me about Ana’s condition and letting me know that she was being discharged. 

Christian had got his Ana back.


On Saturday evening, we headed over to Christian’s home after another unexpected phone call from our son, asking for our help in filling in some of the details about what had happened to him just before we adopted him. He explained that George Welch, his head of security, had been delving into his background to try and work out why Jack Hyde had targeted our family, and had unearthed some information that was unfamiliar to him.

I insisted that Mia had to come with us, because I still didn't want to leave her on her own, even though she appeared to have made a full recovery. Typically, Mia being Mia, she used the occasion as an excuse to invite Kate and Elliot along as well, for a family party.  I worried that Ana might find this too much, but she didn't seem to mind as she smiled and welcomed everyone in.

“Darling, I’m so glad you called us.” I said, as I reached up to kiss my son’s cheek . As I touched his arm, I could literally feel the tension radiating from him.

“It was Ana’s idea. She practically insisted actually.”

“Well, I'm glad you listened to her. She’s a very smart young woman. We’re more than happy to help you fill in any missing pieces in any way we can,” Carrick smiled at Christian.

While the other members of our family chatted and headed off to the kitchen to prepare some food, Christian took us to his study, and produced some old photos that had been unearthed. One of them brought tears to my eyes as I looked at it.

“My poor boy. You were so skinny and small for your age, and we were desperate to adopt you as soon as possible, but we had no option but to comply with the law and wait for two months to make sure there were no other family members who might have wanted to adopt you,” I explained. “So we checked out the Colliers -  the family you were being sent to -  and were reassured when we found they were very experienced foster parents. They came highly recommended, and turned out to be very decent people.  I know they did their best to take good care of you while all the adoption paperwork was going through.”

“I just find it strange that I have no recollection at all of that period of my life. Why can't I remember it?”

“It was a very confusing and difficult time for you, Christian. It’s little wonder that you’ve lost some of the memories. I just wish more of the painful memories had been blocked instead.”

“I guess. Can you tell me anything about the Colliers to see if it jogs some memories?”

“I think Mrs. Collier was a good cook who did her best to start feeding you up, because you already seemed to have grown by the time we got you living with us,” Carrick told him.

“And she tried to get you into a regular bedtime routine to make you feel more settled and try to prevent the recurring nightmares you suffered from. I remember her telling me how you loved her reading to you at bedtime,” I added.

I could see the confused look on Christian's face as he tried to force the memories to resurface.

“Just give it some time, Christian. Maybe it’ll come back to you; maybe it won't. There’s no point in trying to force things,” I patted his arm. “So, how is Ana now?”

“Recovering. Don’t worry, I’m taking some time off work, so I’ll personally be taking good care of her and making sure she gets plenty of rest.”

“And are you talking again now?” I asked.

“Yeah, we are. Still got some things we need to iron out… but we’re getting there,” Christian smiled.

“Good. Communication is the key here. No secrets. Be honest and trust Ana, because she has very good instincts. Even if she was reckless, she was also very brave and we can't thank her enough for what she did for your sister.”

“Mia seems back to her normal self anyway,” Christian commented wryly.

“She’s mad at Hyde and his accomplice, but I think that’s perfectly understandable, and quite healthy actually. You know Mia; never one to bottle things up. She just comes right out with how she’s feeling. ”  

Christian and Mia are chalk and cheese. He tells me virtually nothing about how he feels, while she tells me virtually everything.

“Well, I think I’d best go check my wife isn’t overdoing things. Thanks for coming over anyway.” 

That was our cue to tell us that Christian had had enough of  baring himself to us.

“We’re just delighted that you finally felt able to ask for our help. And don’t let this missing piece of your past worry you too much, Christian. Most people can't remember many events from when they were four years old.”

We had a pleasant evening, but I was determined that we would not outstay our welcome, not wanting Ana to get overtired, and so I overruled Mia’s protests and insisted that we left at a relatively early hour, and luckily Kate and Elliot also took the hint.  I knew that Ana and Christian needed some time to themselves; she was the one that he would open up to, which was what he needed to do in order to deal with his past and finally be able to move on.


I think it was no surprise to anyone that Christian’s overprotective nature really came to the fore during Ana’s pregnancy. Luckily, she positively bloomed and sailed through with no problems, with every indication that she would give birth to a fine healthy baby.  And she handled Christian’s insecurities about impending fatherhood in a calm and no nonsense manner that seemed to work really well with him.

“I’ve told him he has no choice. He’s going to be a good father whether he likes it or not, because I won’t let him be otherwise,” Ana told me with a wink, when I asked how Christian felt as we had our weekly lunch together one time.

“You are so good for him, my dear,” I smiled at her. “He’s never listened to us over the years when we’ve tried to get through to him, to try and dispel his self doubt. To the rest of the world, he’s this powerful, confident billionaire who exudes confidence…”

“But we know differently, don't we?” Ana smiled back. “I often think of him as a lost boy, rather like Peter Pan.”

“That’s it exactly,” I agreed. “Part of Christian has never grown up. Until now, that is, thanks to you.  I can't believe you actually managed to get him to visit his birth mother’s grave, to get him to confront his feelings about her. He’s always point blank refused to discuss anything to do with Ella, just referring to her as ‘the crack whore”, which I hate.”

“Yes, I hate it too, so I’ve banned him from calling her that. It was a very emotionally draining trip, I have to admit. It was so incredibly sad seeing Ella’s headstone, knowing she’d died in such tragic circumstances. It was such a waste, wasn't it? But at least Christian finally admitted that he had loved her, just as any little boy loves his mommy. It’s just a shame that he won’t take the next step and look at that box of her possessions that you’re holding onto for him. But as Dr. Flynn says, it has to be his choice; he has to decide when he’s ready to deal with it.”

“Yes, and I'm sure in time he will, with your support.” I reached over and took my daughter-in-law’s hand. “He is so lucky to have you.”

“I’m the lucky one,” Ana murmured back shyly. “Even now, I still can’t quite believe that he’s my husband, and that we’re about to have a baby together.” She rubbed her large bump - she was over seven months pregnant now.

They knew the sex of the baby, but had decided to keep the news to themselves. I really didn't mind what they had. My mother was certain they were having a boy. She had been delighted, although not in the least bit surprised, when she'd been told that she was going to be a great-grandmother.

“What did I tell you? I said we’d be hearing the pitter patter of little feet within the year, didn't I? I could tell that young couple were just made for each other and that mother nature would take care of things sooner rather than later,” she’d announced smugly. “And it’ll be a boy first, of course, and then a girl next. I just hope I last long enough to see that.”

“Mother, you are as strong as an ox, and will most likely outlast us all,” I’d told her.

Now I looked at Ana’s face.

“It’s all happened rather quickly hasn’t it? I hope you don't feel too overwhelmed. All I can say is that Carrick and I will always be here to help you, whenever you need us. You do know that, don't you?”

“Yes, thank you, Grace. You and Carrick have both been wonderful.”

Thankfully time had largely healed the rift between Ana and my husband, especially when she saw how tirelessly he worked to ensure Jack Hyde was brought to trial, convicted, sentenced and then safely locked away for a very long time.

“And you know we will be knocking down your door, begging to be allowed to babysit every chance we get?”

Ana giggled.

“You may live to regret those words, Grace, because I think you are probably the only people Christian is ever going to trust. He’s already told me not to even think about ever asking Kate to babysit. He still thinks she’s a bad influence over me, just because she encourages me to speak up for myself.”

“I can imagine,” I smiled.

Kate and Christian were both protective towards Ana, and it had led to a few clashes, which luckily Elliot usually managed to diffuse in his usual laid back way.

“But in any case, I think you are more than capable of speaking up for yourself . You know, Kate's forthright manner has been very good for Elliot. She is just what he needed to get him to settle down, because it really was high time he gave up his old playboy lifestyle. I am really looking forward to their wedding.”

“Yes, me too. I just hope I’m going to be able to get into my matron of honor dress,” Ana frowned.

“Don’t you worry about trying to lose weight too quickly once you’ve had the baby, or feel under pressure to regain your figure straight away. It’s far more important to look after yourself and eat sensibly, especially as you’re planning to breast feed.  It takes nine months to make a baby; it’ll probably take at least that long to get back to normal again,” I tried to reassure her.

“I know you’re right, Grace. It’s just hard, because I don’t want to let Kate down, not when she’s got everything planned out so perfectly. And she is going to look amazing, of course.”

“Yes, I’m sure Kate will look beautiful, as will you, my dear. And don’t forget, her mother is designing your dress, so she can simply alter it to accommodate your new figure.”

“Yes, I suppose she can,” Ana smiled back.

Unlike Ana, who had been happy to let me make most of the arrangements for her wedding to Christian, Kate had very definite ideas about exactly what she wanted, and as she had her own mother on hand to help, I was taking a much more back seat role in this wedding.  I didn't mind; as long as Elliot was happy to go along with how Kate wanted things, that was all that mattered.  

As for Mia and Ethan - they finally seemed to be working things out between them.  Following their trip together to Aspen, I learned from Ana that Ethan had confided in Christian. Apparently, they’d had a man to man talk while they were out fishing, and it transpired that his hesitancy in starting a relationship with Mia was all down to the fact that he refused to follow his father’s footsteps into Kavanagh Media, much to Edward Kavanagh’s disapproval.

Ethan had his own agenda, and he was determined to follow a totally different career  path. He wanted to become a psychotherapist, and so had enrolled on a two year Master of Arts Psychology course, which he was funding himself out of his trust fund. Until he was qualified, he wouldn't be able to set up his own practice and start earning a living. He knew that Mia was used to a very affluent and comfortable lifestyle, and he didn’t think she’d be prepared to wait around for him.
But Ethan had underestimated my headstrong daughter. Mia announced that she didn't care whether he was rich or poor, and that she didn't see why that should have any relevance if they liked each other. She insisted that she was not some shallow rich kid, who needed all the wealthy trappings in order to be happy, but that in any case, she had no doubt that one day Ethan would be very successful.

Somehow, out of this, they had found a way forward and were now seeing each other. I liked young Ethan, and the fact that both Elliot and Christian seemed to approve of him, when they’ve always been so protective towards their baby sister, certainly went a long way towards putting my mind at rest.

We finally got the phone call we'd been waiting for from Christian, after anxiously waiting all day for news when we knew that Ana had been admitted to hospital early that morning in labor. I resisted the strong urge to go to the hospital and find out what was going on, telling myself that we had to stand back and leave it to the young couple to let us know if they needed us there.

“It’s a boy, Mom. We have a beautiful baby boy,” Christian told me emotionally.

“A boy! How wonderful! And are they both okay - Ana and the baby?”

“Congratulations! That’s the best news. You have a son! We’ve been waiting hours for your big news. ” Carrick chimed in. He was by my side listening in, with a big grin on his face.

“Sorry about that, but it’s been a really long day, and Ana ended up having an emergency C-section. She had a hard time because he’s a big baby - he weighed nearly nine pounds.”

“But they’re both fine now, after the emergency C-section?” I asked anxiously.

“Yeah, it was touch and go for a while, but they’re both doing really well now. Ana’s totally exhausted, and she’s all drugged up with pain killers, so she’s sleeping. ”

“Yes, she’ll need lots of rest. So we’ll wait until you tell us it’s fine for us to come by and visit,” I insisted, even though I was desperate to see my new grandson.

“Actually, Mom, I was hoping maybe you’d come over, so that you could check a couple of things out for us? It’s not that I don’t trust Dr. Carter, the neonatologist  you recommended, but I’d just feel a lot happier if I knew you had confirmed that everything is as it should be with the baby.”

“Of course. I’ll come right now if you like,” I offered without a second's hesitation. I certainly didn't need asking twice, that was for sure.  


“Say hello to your grandson.  Mom, this is Theodore Raymond Grey.  We’re going to call him Teddy for short,” Christian said as he proudly handed his new born baby son to me.  

I glanced over to see that Ana was sleeping soundly, so Christian had had the baby all to himself for a while, which I thought was a very good thing, as it was giving him a chance to spend some precious one to one time bonding with his new son. The wondrous look on his face as he gazed down adoringly at his baby, fast asleep in his arms, told me everything I needed to know. It was clear that his protective paternal instincts had already kicked in very powerfully. Despite Christian’s childhood, it was obvious that there were going to be no issues with him bonding with his son, and I instinctively knew he was going to be a wonderful father, just as we had all told him he would be.

Of course, I made a complete idiot of myself by bursting into tears as I took my grandson in my arms, forgetting all about being a doctor, just savoring the moment I became a Granny.

“Oh Christian, he’s beautiful! He’s just perfect. And I love the name you’ve chosen for him; your grandfather will be thrilled. I see Teddy has your hair,” I commented on the baby’s mass of dark copper tinted hair, as I kissed the top of his sweet head. It was the most wonderful feeling holding this precious, warm, little bundle in my arms, who carried on sleeping, despite the emotional blubbings of his grandmother.

“Yes, he’s a fine boy, isn’t he?” Christian agreed proudly. “But I’m glad you’re here because there are a couple of things I’ve noticed that I wanted to check out with you before Ana wakes up,” he frowned.

“Oh? What’s worrying you?” I pulled myself together and managed to stop blubbing, now that Christian was asking for my professional help.

“Ana nursed him for a short while soon after he was born, but then he fell asleep. The doctor told me not to worry, but surely he needs to feed more than that to gain adequate nutrition?” Already Christian was worrying about his son eating properly.

“He fed within the first hour after birth ?” Christian nodded. “Then he’s off to a good start, and it’s perfectly normal for him to sleep now. Don't worry, he’ll be sure to let you know when he’s ready for his next feed.”

“He certainly has a fine pair of lungs. I had no idea such a tiny baby could cry that loudly,” he commented next.

“Well, at the moment crying is his only way  of  communicating his needs to you, so he has to ensure that you can't ignore him,” I smiled, as I gently stroked the soft smooth skin of the baby’s cheek. 

Teddy screwed up his face and stretched before settling down to sleep again. He was completely adorable and I instantly fell in love with my gorgeous grandson. I’ve examined hundreds of babies during the course of my career, but in my eyes, this little boy was the most beautiful child I had ever seen.

“And he does this funny thing when he cries, where his chin kind of wobbles,” Christian worried next.

“Oh yes, it’s really funny how newborns do that, isn’t it? Don't worry, that’s perfectly normal,” I assured him.

“Really? And is he meant to be all scrunched up like this? I thought once was he was born he’d want to stretch out more.”

“He will, all in good time. He’s been curled up tightly in the womb for nine months, so now is a period of adjustment as he gets used to not being so restricted.”

“And I noticed that he’s… well, for a little guy he seems so big… down there. Is that normal, or is he especially well endowed or something?”

I couldn’t help laughing at Christian’s expression, which was a mixture of worried concern and masculine pride.

“I’ll give him a full examination if you want, but a newborn baby boy’s genitals are often a little enlarged to start with. It’s perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. He’ll grow into them.”

“Oh, right, that’s good to know. So you really think he seems okay? Nothing that we should be concerned about at this stage?”

I decided the only way to put Christian’s mind at rest was to give young Theodore a quick examination, so I laid him back down in the plastic crib, and then read through the medical notes, before carrying out my examination. I learned that Dr. Greene had been seriously concerned that Ana had been hemorrhaging, possibly due to a detached placenta, hence the emergency C-section. Thank the Lord everything had turned out so well, although Ana looked pale and exhausted as she slept. However, I had no doubt that Christian would be taking inordinate care of both her and the baby over the coming days, weeks and months to ensure she regained her strength.

“You and Ana have a perfectly normal, healthy, baby boy, Christian,” I was soon able to confirm Dr. Carter’s initial examination, Teddy having slept throughout. “More assessments and checks will be carried out at various stages, but I'm sure your son will sail through them all. Now, can I have another cuddle with him before I leave?”

“Sure, Mom. And tell Dad we’d love to see him tomorrow.” Carrick had held back from visiting with me, not wanting to crowd the young couple so soon after the traumatic birth.

“He’ll be thrilled to see this young man. But I should avoid having too many visitors parading in and out for these first few days; try and keep things tranquil and low-key so that Ana has a chance to recover.  All three of you are going to need plenty of rest and some quiet bonding time.”

“No worries on that score, Mom. Don't forget that I have Taylor and his team to keep unwelcome visitors at bay,” Christian grinned at me. I knew this was true - I had had to pass through the security team who were stationed outside the room. They were on full alert because of the masses of reporters and photographers hanging around, in the hope of getting an exclusive first shot of Christian Grey’s new baby son.

“Does that man ever sleep? I’m sure Gail hardly ever gets to see him, even if they are married now.”

“Long hours are all part of the job. Both Taylor and Gail know that.”

“Have they settled in okay in their new staff quarters?”

“Seem to have done. Haven’t come running to me with any complaints anyway.”

“I can't wait to see Theodore in that beautiful nursery you’ve had installed in your new home. He really is one very lucky young man, isn’t he?” I held the baby up and kissed his forehead, and laughed as he sweetly yawned a huge yawn.

“Don't you think that’s really neat?  I had no idea babies knew how to yawn as soon they were born,” Christian observed, as he took the baby back from me. I was delighted to see the way he instinctively tucked the baby up against his chest, with no problems about this close contact between them.

Carrick was right. This darling baby would be another powerful catalyst for healing Christian’s emotional wounds, and turning him into the man he’d always had the potential to be.

Epilogue ~ Two years later 

Christian and Ana are wonderful parents, as  I always knew they would be.

At nearly two years old, Theodore Raymond Grey is the spitting image of his father in every way, except that he has his mother’s blue eyes rather than his father’s gray ones. He’s a very bright child, just as his father was, so he can be very demanding, but Ana knows how to handle him, just as she knows how to handle his father, better than anyone else.

Sometimes I see Christian watching his son wistfully, and I wonder if he’s comparing his son’s idyllic upbringing to his own tormented early years.  Ana does her best to prevent Christian from spoiling their little boy, but I’m confident that however privileged and affluent an upbringing he has, there will always be firm rules set in place to guide Teddy, so that he understands the difference between right and wrong.

Most weekends we go over to their house and babysit our grandson, so that Christian and Ana can go sailing, or gliding, or whatever they wish to do. It’s easier if we go to their place because of all the security issues - their house has every possible security measure installed and then some. It saddens me that this is necessary, but I do my best to ignore all the horrid implications - that there are people out there who wish harm to my son and his family.

Christian still works extremely hard, so I'm glad to see him and Ana going off and spending some time relaxing together, while we get to spend time with our grandson.

 The difference now is that Christian’s priorities have changed. His family comes first, before anything else. I remember how Ana told me he'd called a halt to a very important meeting and walked out so that he could rush back home, because she’d let him know that Teddy had just started taking his first steps.

Luckily, everyone falls over backwards to do business with my billionaire son, so he gets to call the shots and is allowed to be as eccentric as he likes. If he wants to go home and see his son because he’s smiling, or has learned to sit up, or crawl, or is taking his first steps, then he has. I think it’s wonderful.

Christian is affectionate and demonstrative with Theodore, as well as having infinite patience with him -  I think because he finds his son completely fascinating. He reads to him, plays with him, and when Ted was a tiny baby, he didn't turn a hair at changing dirty diapers, or seem to mind when he got milk burped up all over his eye-wateringly expensive bespoke suits. He’s most definitely a hands-on father, and I’m really proud of the way he’s taken to it and adapted, after all his initial self doubts.  
I’m delighted that our family is expanding.  We now have a granddaughter as well, because Kate and Elliot have a beautiful baby girl -  Ava - who is just a couple of months old. Elliot is totally besotted with his daughter, which is so sweet to see. Both my sons have become terrific fathers, I'm proud to say. And Christian and Ana's family is expanding - she is six months pregnant with their second baby, as they decided they didn't want to have a large gap between Teddy and his sibling, which I think is a very good plan. I feel so very lucky to have my grandchildren close by and see them so often.

Ana has managed to successfully combine her career with motherhood, and Christian has told me that Grey Publishing has gone from strength to strength, thanks to his wife’s knack of being able to spot a winning manuscript. She was also very quick to spot the trend for e-readers such as the Kindle, and she made sure that Grey Publishing was right at the forefront of this rapidly expanding market.
I am still a little sad that although Christian has made huge strides in dealing with all his childhood issues over the last couple of years, he has yet to read his birth mother’s diary that he has now been made aware of, since I told him about the box of his birth mother’s last few possessions that I’m holding onto for him. We have talked about it, but Christian still finds it hard to accept the fact that his birth mother stood by and watched him being abused.

“How could she do that, Mom? If she had cared for me at all, how could she have let that happen? You and Flynn have both told me that being a parent should give me a better insight into how hard it must have been for her on her own, and I get that, I really do. But now that I have my own child, I find it even harder to comprehend how she could have let her pimp do those things to me, when I know neither Ana nor I would ever let anyone treat our son that way, no matter what the circumstances.”

What could I say in Ella’s defense, when in reality her appalling neglect was indefensible? All I could hope was that one day, with Ana’s help, he’d feel ready to take this final step and read her diary to gain an insight into his birth mother's thoughts. Maybe then he'd be able to lay the last of his childhood demons to rest, by somehow finding it in his heart to forgive her. 

I feel he has already taken some of those steps, by supporting several drug abuse charities of the kind that might have been able to reach out and help Ella and her son in their time of need. It’s a start anyway.

Perhaps one day, I’ll know that Christian, my beloved son, has finally felt able to come to terms with all of the many shades of darkness that have colored his life up to now.
When that day comes, Christian will be able to spend the rest of his life living happily ever after, basking in the light that he has discovered, thanks to the power of Ana’s healing love for him.

The End

~Author's note~

Thank you for following Grace's story through to the end. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. 
So, what to read next? 
Due to popular demand, there are now downloadable versions of both 'Meet Fifty Shades' and Grace's blog for you to download if you wish. You will find the link to these on the tab at the top. If you have enjoyed reading these free blogs, I would like to suggest that you maybe consider making a small donation to charity, by way of thanks. Personally,  I support any of the Cancer Research charities, The Alzheimer Society, and Smile Train, which supports children born with cleft lip and/or palate, so a donation to any of these would be wonderful. I thank you for your generosity in advance.

There are also my own original books, details of which can be found on my author's website: