Methinks the lady doth protest *too* much...
In other news, I'm very excited to be presenting you with a guest post, tonight - the first ever guest post on this blog!
Last week, I wrote a short piece of fiction called "Later's Baby," which was my idea of how the Fifty Shades trilogy should have ended. If you haven't already, you can read it here.
It spawned a few other pieces of what I've dubbed "anti-fan-fic" (or what less wordy people like to call "spitefic!"). Some writers sent me links to their own pieces of fiction. Others sent me their stories in their entirity. Tonight, I'm going to share one of them here. Please do keep writing these, everyone - feel free to post links in the comments section. I can't wait to read more!
You don't need any more waffle from me, so I'm just going to post this alternative ending for you to read. I'll be back later this week with my very own ramblings... Until then, I'll leave you with this, from Julia Pitt. As always, with anything connected to Fifty Shades, there's something of a trigger warning:
50 Shades Of Growing A Spine
By Julia Pitt
Anastasia Steele had really had enough. She had no personal experience with sex before Mr. Grey (even as she thought about this, she wondered why he never allowed her to use his first name. Surely they were intimate enough for that by now!) but she watched her friends in relationships. Though her parents’ relationship had ended in divorce, she was pretty sure they hadn’t been into the kind of things Christian seemed to think were fantastic. She had told Christian many times that she didn’t like how he hurt her but Mr. High and Mighty never listened. Too busy getting his own needs met to even care about hers! And his latest attempt at making her feel like nothing but a plaything to be tossed aside at his whim? That was the last straw, to use a tired cliché.
She replayed the words she had said to him the night before, debasing herself and saying how she loved him. She cringed in shame. Had she always been so needy? So spineless? So pathetic? For the first time in months she lay alone in her queen sized bed, blissfully alone with her thoughts. She had pretended to be upset with him when he didn’t invite – no – command her to join him on his overnight business trip but in reality, she was relieved. It was indeed a blessing in disguise. At last she had the breathing room to take a good, hard look at her relationship with the billionaire and see how much he hurt her. He hurt her emotionally and physically. And, if she was completely honest, he took chunks out of her soul, too.
For a moment she lay in her bed in the fetal position, sobbing her heart out. Christian never allowed her to cry, not unless it was for him in some way. Like the previous night where he had become catatonic until she said how she was nothing without him. Just the thought of what she had said made her more miserable. When the tears finally abated and she could breathe again, memories from high school began to trickle through. José had taken her to the prom, not as her boyfriend, but as her friend. He had always been so dependable and kind and thoughtful. The antithesis of Mr. Grey in every possible way. In the ninth grade Anastasia had been teased about her flat chest and skinny body. Her nickname was bean pole until José took it upon himself to pretend to be her boyfriend – for the entire four years. Since he was one of the most popular guys in school, the bullies eased up. For the most part.
Ana sat up and scrubbed her palm over her eyes, angrily wiping away the tears. Anger flashed in her eyes as she regarded her pale complexion in her dresser mirror. Enough already! Was she a woman or a mouse? She had once had a spark that could turn into a flame. All before Christian. And she still had it! She wasn’t going to be put down anymore! Shaking with a mixture of fury and fear, she picked up her cell phone. Turning off the GPS before removing the back of the phone, she removed the bug never before thought to look for. With a flick of her fingers she sent it flying into the trash can. It hit the side and went in with a satisfying ping. Three points for Anastasia Steele! All star basketball player! Ana exulted, raising her hand over her head in triumph. She was starting to enjoy this, her first tiny act of rebellion. She quickly put her phone back together and as she did, glanced around the room, wondering where the hidden cameras were. Hopefully Christian was so far away, that even if he could see her, he couldn’t stop her.
It felt really, really good to defy Christian. She gained courage from the sudden rush of adrenaline surging through her veins. Before she lost that courage she dialled the number Christian had made her delete from her phone. Not that it mattered, since she knew it by heart. José answered on the first ring, almost as if he had been waiting for her to call. Which was silly, because he couldn’t possibly want to speak to her after she had pretty much shut him out of her life. Anastasia felt that old familiar panic. Until she noticed the girl in the mirror glaring back at her. “Anastasia Steele!” she berated herself silently. “Grow a back bone girl! Stop sniveling and get on with it! You want to be free, right?” She straightened her shoulders, silently praying that José would help her.
“Ana?” José’s voice was warm and curious. “Are you okay? Why are you calling so late? Actually, why are you calling at all?” He didn’t sound angry, just confused.
She took a deep breath and blurted it out. A glance at the clock by her bed showed that she was wasting valuable time. “José, I need your help. I’m leaving Christian.”
“Oh. Thank God! It’s about time, Ana.” Again, there was no anger or censure in his voice. Only relief. For the first time in too long, Ana felt safe and warm. Did she care more for José than she was willing to admit to herself? Did she dare hope he could ever return her feelings or that there was a chance for them? She shut the thought down. Right now she needed to get out of a relationship, not jump straight into another.
Taking a deep breath, Anastasia said through a voice beginning to tremble, “I need your help to get away from him. Please.”
José barely let her finish her request before assuring her, “I’ll be there in five.”
Anastasia blinked. “Five minutes? But...don’t you live across town?”
José chuckled. “I’ve been waiting for your call. Even moved closer to you just in case you needed me. Look, I’ll explain everything when I get there. See you in four and a half.” Then he hung up.
Anastasia swallowed hard and tossed the phone on the bed. Christian may have claimed to be away overnight, but she wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up at her apartment much earlier than that. He was so obsessed with her that she wouldn’t put it past him. Five minutes...no. Less than that now. José would be there soon and she wasn’t dressed or packed or anything. Anastasia leaped out of bed, hauled the largest suitcase she owned onto the bed and began to pack frantically. She stopped for a precious minute to throw on street clothes, then dashed to her bathroom to get toiletries. She didn’t intend to ever return to this apartment, so she had better gather everything she could in one go.
Two minutes to spare. Dare she leave a note telling Christian that she was leaving him? There wasn’t time. She pushed her feet into a pair of sneakers, grabbed her keys and tossed her hair up into a ponytail. Almost as an afterthought she loaded the hand gun she kept in her bedside table drawer and stuck it into the waistband of her jeans. With all her small valuables in her purse, she lugged the suitcase to the door. She raised her hand to turn the knob but a sound outside the door made her pause. It was a grating, like a key turning in a lock. Not José.
She jumped back just in time as the door crashed inward. Even though she had expected he might come back early, seeing him in all his fury made her legs weak. “Mr. Grey!” She thought she would be sick. She was like a cornered animal, knowing she would be slaughtered if she so much as moved. Oh, where was José? She licked her lips, wishing for a glass of water to soothe her parched throat. The fire in eyes she had once found so alluring was searing her soul as he stared her down. She dropped her purse and the suitcase and backed away slowly. So far he hadn’t moved or said a word. There was fury but also a wry smirk on his handsome face.
The truth hit her like a wrecking ball. Tonight had been a test. Christian had never left the city. He had given her space to see if she would run. It was one more sick part of his game. If she tried to escape, he would get his rocks off punishing her. No. She wouldn’t die at his hand but she would certainly wish she had. Anastasia took deep gulps of air, sweat trickling down her forehead. She stifled a whimper of fear. José would never get here in time. She was on her own against a man who was more monster than any she had ever met.
Christian continued to stare her down, his breath coming out in harsh pants as he slowly advanced. “You. Are. Mine! How many times to I have to tell you that, Anastasia? You can’t leave me! I own you!”
Those words, spoken with deadly certainty were all it took. At long last, something in Anastasia snapped. Before he reached her she whipped the gun out of her belt and aimed it at his heart. She didn’t scream it, though in her head she was shouting. Instead she responded with a deadly voice of her own. “I belong to myself. Not to you or anyone else. I said I was leaving and I am. I’m never coming back and you’re just going to have to deal with it, Sir!” She stretched out the ‘sir’ to make it as demeaning a term as possible. Then she cocked the hammer. “Now, get the hell out of my apartment before I put a hole where your heart’s supposed to be.”
Anastasia had the grim satisfaction of watching all the blood drain from his face when he saw that she was serious. His eyes were filled with fear as he raised his hands in surrender. “Now, now Anastasia. Let’s talk about this.”
Did she detect a tremor in the voice she had once thought so sexy? She couldn’t resist a smile, one that rivalled his own when he was trying to make her do what he wished. Only her smile had a deadly edge to it. Because Anastasia Steele was tired of being treated like crap. “It’s time for you to leave, Christian.” She put extra emphasis on his first name and held her ground. “I’ve had enough of being treated like your plaything. I’m sick and tired of being hurt by you. I never signed your damn contract and I never will. You’re a disgusting human being, Christian Grey. No. You’re not human. You’re a monster.”
She steadied the gun and blinked away sudden, unexpected tears. She had thought he loved her. Once. It hurt to realize that she had been deluding herself all this time. And that hurt was mixed with anger, enough to make the tears flow faster. Through the tears she noticed José standing behind Christian in the light of the hallway. Relieved to have backup, she relaxed.
Bad move. The moment she lowered the gun, Christian lunged at her, his fury propelling her head into the wall. She saw stars as he wrenched the gun away and used both hands to begin strangling her. “You can never leave me, Ana. Never. I won’t let you!” His breath was putrid, evidence that he had been drinking more than usual tonight. She gripped his hands and tried to push him off but it was like trying to move a reinforced concrete wall. Just as she was starting to black out, there was an explosion and Christian let her go.
She slumped to the floor, gasping and trying to get as much air in her lungs as possible. Through the oxygen deprived haze she could see Christian turn on José. Again, he was alarmingly quick. José never got a chance for a second shot because Christian punched him dead in the face, causing the younger man to fold like a poor poker hand. Christian stood over José, ready to shoot him where he lay.
With a scream, part agony, part fury, Anastasia scooped up her gun and fired two shots into Christian’s back. His head whipped around as he fell to his knees, his eyes filled with disbelief. “Why, Ana? I loved you. How could you do this to me? To us?”
Anastasia kept her hands steady, horrified that she had just shot him. There was no way she could show weakness now though. José’s life was still in danger and Christian still held his gun. Instead, she stood over him, broken but never beaten. The tears fell faster now. “You will never own me. You never loved me. You only ever loved yourself. Now you’re trying to kill me and the people I care about. I told you to leave. I gave your fair warning.” Outwardly she was calm but her inner voice was screaming at her to put a bullet in his head and end it. She shuddered. When had her inner voice become so vengeful?
Christian’s face contorted into a mask of hate as he struggled to sit upright. “You really think anyone can love you now that I’ve used you up? You are nothing without me!”
Anastasia’s eyes began to blur with a red haze. His words cut her to the core but instead of making her sad, they just made her angry. She was about to fire back a retort when another shot rang out and Christian slumped before her. His gun clattered to the floor, his mouth open in a permanent gasp of horror, his gaze fixed. Shocked, Anastasia’s gaze flew to José’s resigned expression. He stood over a now very dead Christian Grey, his own gun smoking. His beloved face was filled with guilt.
“I’m sorry, Ana. He would have shot you. I had to stop him.”
Anastasia dropped her gun like it was on fire, sank to the floor and wept. A moment later she was sobbing into José’s strong chest, his arms wrapped tightly around her. And that was all he did for a long moment. He didn’t demand she stop crying. He didn’t shout at her for letting her emotions out. He held her and he comforted her. She wept for the pain and suffering Christian had put her through in the name of love. She wept for the spineless human being who had let herself be swayed by a handsome face. She even wept for Christian’s tortured soul. When her tears had been spent José gently carried her out of the apartment and drove her far away from there. Then he called the police with an anonymous tip.
A week later the media told the story of how billionaire Christian Grey had been murdered in an apartment he owned, presumably due to a love triangle gone wrong. The murder weapons were never recovered and no prints were found on the body or even in the apartment. Apparently whoever killed Christian Grey was very careful to cover their tracks. His murder remained a mystery and he became old news within a month. Anastasia’s name was connected briefly with Christian’s but since she seemed to vanish from the face of the earth, the world ceased to care. Before long there were other crimes covered by the media and the media turned to those stories. A brief, lavish funeral was held in honour of the late Mr. Grey but no one attended except a few lawyers and a former submissive, Leila. All his assets were liquefied, and as he had made no will, substantial donations were made to various charities in his name. The most notable was shelter on Fifth and Main – a home for bruised and battered women.
A week after Christian’s death Anastasia changed her name, moved to Canada with José and started over. They dated for six months, after which he proposed and she accepted. Not long after, she began going to therapy and when she was ready, she and José started a family.
Two years after her trauma, Anastasia and her husband opened a shelter for abused women. They named it 50 Shades of Freedom, in dishonour of the man who started Anastasia on the long journey to realizing she had self worth and worth in the eyes of others, all along. And they all lived happily ever after. Except for Christian Grey.