December 21, 2005

3:03 P.M.

Twelve. I was twelve when I noticed that I felt.. different. There were girls in my class who would swoon over boys in our grade, or actors that they saw on t.v. They would giggle over how cute they are, write their names in their notebook... and I remember thinking why I didn't feel how they did. Why was I not normal? Why didn't I feel butterflies in my stomach whenever I was around a cute boy? Why didn't I feel flattered-or happy when a guy would ask me out, or come to my house and ask if I could ride bikes with them?

My mother thought it was adorable-her daughter just had boys falling at her feet; but me? I didn't feel anything. And I thought it was wrong. It was wrong.

It was wrong because there was only one person in the world who could make me feel butterflies, or daydream about running away with them and having 2.5 kids. Only one person I wanted attention from.

And that person was off limits.

September 10, 1994

4:15 P.M.

"Smile, baby!" Grace cooed, her face widened with a smile. One eye was squinted into the lens of a Polaroid camera, it's lens pointed in a bronze, blue-eyed girls direction.

The girl smiled, her eyes crinkling at the corners-just like her father. Her skin was sun-kissed, the tan from the summer still present. They had just returned from the Bahamas after a three month vacation and the sun had had it's fair share of Ana.

"Enough, Mama," she pleaded, laughing lightly as she removed the camera from the woman's grasp. "You've taken like five hundred in the last twenty minutes."

Grace wrapped her in her embrace, kissing her head softly. The girl had sprouted up since last year, moving from barely 5 foot to 5'7''-almost as tall as her mother. When Grace kissed her, she barely had to bend down.

The girl hugged her back, inhaling her mother's scent. Butterscotch-just like since the day she was born. Grace and Ana had always been close; they shared a bond that only a mother and her daughter could have. Sometimes they knew what each other was thinking-just by a look, or a movement. They were so in-sync that Carrick would joke that even he was jealous.

For a while, Elliot resented Ana. It was like someone had just came in and swept his mother away. Grace would obsess over her daughter, checking in every second to make sure she's okay. She didn't put her down for three months. She even placed her crib inside of her room until she was a year old-deathly afraid that Ana would be struck with SIDS.

Grace hated to admit it, but once Ana was born, she forgot that she had two other kids. Even if it was brief, she still felt guilty; even 12 years later.

"My little girl is turning 12-you'll be going to this year," Grace responded, a lethargic lilt present in her tone.

"Mommm," Ana drew out, rolling her eyes, "don't start again. I will literally be three blocks away from the school I went to last year."

Grace swallowed, pushing away her thoughts filled with anxiety. She had managed to keep Ana alive and healthy for twelve years-surely nothing would go wrong now.

"Of course, dear," she muttered, rubbing Ana's arm softly.

Ana looked around the backyard of the Grey house. There were family members-her grandmother and grandfather, her aunt Rhonda and uncle Jerry, her brother Elliot; friends, people that worked with her mother and father-but not the one person she wanted there the most.

She twisted a strand of her hair, biting her lip nervously.

"Have you heard from Christian?" She asked nonchalantly, not giving way to how deeply hurt she was.

Grace sighed. "No. But he'll be here. He always is for you."

Ana nodded, but she was less than convinced. Lately, the brother she had known and loved for twelve years just didn't seem to be present. Something was definitely going on with him.

Ana jumped as a pair of arms wrapped around her waist. She turned and was met with the emerald eyes of Kate Kavanagh.

Kate pulled her arm, stealing her away from the warm embrace of Grace.

"Sorry, Mrs. Grey, but I'm gonna have to steal Ana away from you," Kate calls over her shoulder, a faint smile on her lips.

Ana waves to her mom, chuckling as she's lead away.

They grow up so fast.. She muses.

Her tears slid from her cheeks and dipped into the bath water. Ana saw her reflection mirrored in the pool of liquid she was immersed in.

Her heart was heavy, filled with sadness and burning rage. How dare he not show up? What the hell was she-chopped liver? She was his sister, his favorite person in the world or so he's said. So he couldn't even stop by on her birthday?

She was hurt. Completely and utterly hurt. She slid underneath the water, submerging her whole body. She heard nothing but the whistle of water in her ears. Felt nothing but the warm pool lapping at her skin. Her lungs burned; she pushed herself to the limit, trying to distract the ache in her heart with physical pain.

This pain she could deal with.

When her chest was on the brink of exploding, she broke the surface of the water, gripping the edge of the tub on her way up. She inhaled deeply, lapping up as much air as possible to sooth the burn in her chest. She wiped her eyes, the bright, flourescent bathroom lights stinging her retinas.

"I had something to do."

Ana screamed, water cascading over the side of the tub as her body jumped with fright. She looked to her right, the grey eyes of Christian burning bright as he stared at her.

She covered her chest, sinking lower into the tub.

"Get out!" She growled, mortified.

Her cheeks were a fierce red, betraying her fierce facade. Inside she was quaking.

This was her brother-he couldn't see her naked! Especially not when she's lacking so much in the breast department.

"I'm not interested," he murmured, gesturing to her covered chest, "even if I was there's nothing to keep me interested."

Her stomach dipped and her cheeks flushed even brighter. She tried to ignore the sting in her eyes that his words invoked. She slid even lower, nothing but her head exposed. Maybe the water could hide the shame that she felt in that moment.

"Well.. you're an asshole," she whispered.

He grimaced. "You kiss your mother with that mouth?"

"Yes, considering mine's still alive."

Her eyes widened in shock.

Did I really just say that?

Ana saw something zooming at her face and caught it just in time. It was a box, with a red ribbon wrapped around it-her favorite color.

"What's this?" She asked.

"Open it."

He wasn't looking at her. He stared at the painting on the wall; a woman with a single, white rose. It was in tones of black, the mood of the painting so somber and so heartbreaking. The woman had a smile on her face, but it was all wrong. It didn't match the sorrow in her eyes. Ana had always wondered why a woman as happy as Grace would hang up such a sad painting. Little did she know that Christian had picked it out.

Ana pulled at the ribbon, it unraveling and falling to the floor. She opened the box to reveal a sterling silver bracelet. There were charms adorned around the whole bracelet-little trinkets of memories Christian and Ana had shared over the years.

She smiled as she looked at each one, but there was one charm in particular that caught her eye. A single, grey eye stared back at her. It was inanimate-but it looked so alive. It sparkled underneath the florescent light, holding so much depth for something so dense.

"You always said you loved my eyes.. Now you can take them everywhere with you."

She looked at Christian, his eyes almost matching perfectly the charm on her bracelet. It was as if they were exact copies.

"Thank you," she whispered, mesmerized. But she wasn't going to let him off that easily. "But it doesn't mean I forgive you. How can you just not show up to my party? Are you outgrowing me or something?"

Her voice cracked at the last part, showcasing her fears and the real reason she was so hurt. Now that Christian was 15, what if he forgot all about his baby sister? What if he wanted to hang with people his own age, or pay attention to older girls. Pretty ones that don't have underdeveloped chests.

She looked down, her cheeks reddening.

"It's complicated," he responded, his voice grave.

"Then explain," she pleaded, placing her bracelet back in the box and onto the edge of the tub. She inched closer to Christian, reaching out to him.

"Do you remember when I was eight and we went to the aquarium?" He asked, sliding from the counter down onto the ground, taking hold of her hand. He spun the mood ring that was wrapped around her ring finger.

Ana nodded her head.

"Do you remember what happened?" He looked up at her, his eyes frighteningly dead. So blank and sad that it was hard for her to breathe.

"One of the tigers got loose and hurt somebody," she whispered.

"And do you know why?"

She shook her head. "Tigers are predatorial. Naturally vicious," she guessed.

He chuckled, but there was no mirth in his tone.

"No. They forced him in that cage-forced him to be a house cat when he wasn't born that way. Eventually, Ana.. You just realize that sometimes you have to find where you belong."

She snatched her hand away from him.

"And you don't belong here? With your family?.. With me?"

He didn't answer; instead, her removed her bracelet from the box and wrapped it around her wrist.

"I don't belong anywhere."

She grimaced, so confused-and hurt. Why was he shutting her out now? Why after all this time did he not want to talk to her? She grabbed his arm, pulling up his sleeve.

"What is this?" She asks, gesturing to the purple bruise on his forearm.

He shakes his head, not answering. He rises, preparing to exit.

"I haven't outgrown you," he says, his hand on the doorknob. "I never could," he adds before leaving.

She stares at the door, hoping he'll come back in and everything will be normal again; but he doesn't. She looks down at her bracelet, the eyes-Christian's eyes staring back at her. For some reason they just made her feel more alone.

A/N: I feel like double-uploading today. I should, considering I have nothing else better to do. However, thanks to everyone for supporting this story. I hope it will turn into something promising.

P.S. Save your money and DON'T see the Fifty Shades movie-it's dreadfully disappointing.