First, let me thank Thirst who has been my primary cheerleader in my writing journey. This story is one of my NaNoWriMo projects. It's dark, getting darker, and it will become darkest before the dawn. Honestly, I initially tinkered with the idea of not making it a HEA. At first, I was certain… I mean, what world exists where Ana and Christian don't belong together? Therefore, I didn't know until almost the very end of my outlining process if I could keep these kids together.

Second, I have a special shout out to Nadia, who I've also shared some snippets with, who encouraged me to begin posting updates to this story again along with several others. I still plan to post a chapter of Letters [this week], so settle in, get comfortable. I am back.

Some of you will not like my Ana. Many of you will not like my Christian.

This is my sandbox. If you know anything about sand, it can make its way into the most impossible crevices. It can irritate, cause pain, inflict damage on sensitive mechanisms. However, under the right conditions, a single grain of sand can also be the start of something good, and far less ordinary.

A/N: I've updated my summary with triggers and warnings. I'm sure several people will attempt to power through their pain, terror and angst anyway.

Trigger Warnings: Aggravated Stalking, Sexual Violence, Character Death.



Master cannot be serious about this worthless, classless ragamuffin! How could he give this low-budget cretin more? She has more sweats than panties, granny panties at that! No satin, silk or lace to speak of, just barely functional cotton, some of it laundered to the consistency of Swiss cheese! Her lingerie drawer is full of old, worn journals. Who is this ridiculous bitch? Has she taken a vow of poverty? Surely, Master has provided a wardrobe to go with her car. Is she playing hard to get?

The super was so accommodating when I explained I was Anastasia's older sister, visiting from Montesano. Perhaps my 'accidental' flash of cleavage, downcast eyes and fluttering lashes helped. That, and the fake ID designating me as Leanne Steele and my long, brunette hair sealed the deal. He even offered me a key, so I could go to the supermarket to fill her refrigerator, and maybe do some of her laundry, to "help her out". The submissive holds all the power, indeed. The do-gooder, girl next door ruse has done the trick. He's not going to call her because he doesn't want to ruin her 'surprise'. That skinny, home-wrecking bitch is in for the surprise of her life.

Her white wicker bed is made, with hospital corners so crisp and tight, I could probably bounce a quarter on it. However, my attention I the ribbon tied to her bedpost, leading to a deflated helicopter balloon under her pillow. Charlie Tango Golf, perhaps? He flew this whore in his helicopter? Her equally shabby chic dresser barely has anything on it. Deodorant, some Mardi Gras beads she probably got from her roommate and a receipt for a glider model.

Her background check, though thick, appeared rather sparse in the relationships, interests and hobbies sections. She's spent the last four years traveling between school, work and home with few deviations. The most exciting place she's gone in years is Savannah, and Master chased her there in the GEH jet. But, he came right back home to save me when I 'slit' my wrists in front of Gail. She was so horrified and concerned for me, that she totally overlooked how I got in and how long I'd been there. She didn't even know what I was doing before I was 'discovered'.

I've been to Master's home many times since Geoffrey's death. I've even slept there after a few minor tweaks of his security cameras. Now you see me… Clearly, his accident was meant to be, to return me to where I really belonged. The pictures of Master and the interloper splashed across various media outlets that I'd seen before Geoff lost control of the car were simply providential. One door closed and a window of opportunity opened.

My 'marriage' was a complete and utter joke. The man who seemed debonair and dominant while I was in a maudlin, drunken stupor turned out to be an abusive prick with a minuscule dick and financial problems. He'd assumed we'd live on my money. He saw my designer rags and red Audi and thought he'd nabbed a trust fund baby. Well, I got the last laugh when he caught me fucking Geoff in his bed. He was never going to divorce me on the basis of adultery when he knew I would reveal his erectile dysfunction and alcoholism. Didn't stop the petty bastard from dragging the divorce out as long as possible, though.

I even offered him a lump-sum settlement to let me go, but he must've smelled my desperation because he dug his heels in like a mule and the ass hired a divorce attorney who was so anal-retentive he must've been part Vulcan. The bastard found every possible stumbling block and obstacle to prolong the divorce and since I was the 'breadwinner' (at least on paper), I was paying his fees on top of the bullshit hand I was dealt in Vegas.

I guess when Master takes me back, I could spin the fact that I'm still married as proof of Rod's emotional abuse. He has a hero-savior complex. At least according to Flynn. He likes nothing better than to 'fix' us. And he doesn't spare any of his rods…

I knew it was better to leave peaceably once I admitted that I wanted more. Since I did it in a respectful way, we parted on amicable terms. He even responded to a few of my e-mails. It was almost as if we were friends. His only other friend was Mistress Elena, who provided most of his subs. If a sub had an 'in' with Mistress, she was sitting on a goldmine. She matched subs with the most elite Doms in Washington and the Northwestern seaboard. A successful sub would never have to work a day in her life. I mean seriously, most of us like being fucked hard and the punishments we take are far less painful and debilitating than the emotional crapfest most vanilla women expose themselves to in their pursuit of 'twue love'. If she matched a sub with Master, he possessed a diamond dick to go along with his Amex Black.

But first I have deal with Little Orphan Annie. She really is a fucking orphan! You couldn't make this shit up! Her father died on her date of birth! Talk about "say hello, wave goodbye"! What a 'fuck you' that must have been. Her mother Carla apparently married the first man that would keep them off public assistance and she ended up dumping Annie with her stepfather Raymond Steele when she was sixteen years old to explore greener pastures. I guess Master wanted to 'fix' her, too. Based on her meager wardrobe, spartan, far-too-shabby-to-qualify-as-chic furnishings and overall dismal financial condition, Annie needs all the help she can get.

She and her roommate are a study in contrasts. Whereas Anastasia has almost nothing of import, Katherine has dressers and a wardrobe simply bursting with designer labels. Her closet was almost as large as Orphan Annie's entire room. Inside her closet, I found the dress the bitch was wearing when she was photographed with Master. I'll be taking that, thank you very much! They won't notice anything missing when I'm finished. No matter, Leila is going to make all of Annie's problems vanish…

I couldn't believe it when her roommate turned out to be none other than that lazy slut, Kate Kavanagh, the little bitch that interrupted my final session with Sir Kay. I guess she needed him to do her homework for her, or buy her the grade outright. I could strangle the bitch. My anus and lining had been rubbed almost raw from the friction and pressure from his relentless pounding. It didn't matter how well my ass was prepared once he spoke to her. As his stress level increased, so did his pace and libido. The water-based lubricant failed abysmally, especially once he directed me to ride his cock with my ass. He may not have been super long normally, but he was long enough and his blue pill thickened him up and lent him plenty of vigor.

After our tête-à-tête, I was dangerously close to developing hemorrhoids from a single night of sex which had never happened before. In addition, I'd received an oozing friction burn due to all the inflammation. For half a week, Desitin was my friend as the irritation, discomfort, and pain were almost too much to bear. It was bad enough I had to get it from the baby aisle, but I was so fucking embarrassed when the sales clerk asked me how old my baby was. Did I look like I'd been pregnant? Then again, I guess I was walking like a cowboy. I had to apply that shit up and around my anus twice a day. So needless to say, I had a bone to pick with Katie-girl, too.

The best decision is to begin as I meant to go on. My plan, however, was derailed as the doorbell rang. I assumed it might be the building super, checking in, but instead a nondescript deliveryman holding aloft a monstrously huge floral arrangement stood at the door.

I opened the door as the man asked, "Anastasia Steele?"

"Yes," I replied. "I'm Ana."

"Here you go, ma'am. These are for you. Could you sign here?" he asked, pushing an electronic verification device towards me. I signed quickly and opened the door, motioning him inside, where he placed it on the island counter.

The deliveryman left as I considered my options. Of course, my curiosity overcame me, causing me to race to the counter and look for a card. Locating the card, I practically ripped it open in my haste to read the contents.

"Congratulations on your first day. Did you receive the flowers I sent to your work? I'd like for us to talk. Call me. - CTG."

What the fuck is this? Suddenly, I took far less pleasure in the bracelet Sir had presented me. This was something entirely different, personal in a way that I'd never experienced with him. While the bracelet was clearly far more expensive, this familiar, yet intimate, gesture enraged me beyond comprehension. As I stewed, the doorbell rang yet again. This time it was a different delivery person, with a fruit basket in tow. I signed for it and carried it inside the apartment myself. When I opened it, I discovered far more than fruit inside. The basket also contained fresh strawberries, clotted cream, scones and a large box of Twining's English Breakfast tea bags. Included were crudité with a select variety of dips and crusty French rolls with whipped butter. Its card contained only one word: Eat.

Moments later, it seemed, there was yet another package. What was next, a fucking singing telegram? An Adam Levine lookalike burst into song as soon as I opened the door, and the lyrics were like icy daggers to my heart.

"Bed's too big without you
Cold wind blows right thru' my open door
I can't sleep with your memory
Dreaming dreams of what used to be"

After he finished serenading me, he presented me with a package containing a body pillow, a bottle of his signature scent, satin robe, basque and slippers. PajamaGram had nothing on Sir. The card only read: "This song says it all for me."

How much pain could a person take before spontaneously bursting into flames of heartache and betrayal? This bitch has it all while I had to beg for the crumbs off his table. Before, I'd attempted to convince myself that this was all a pretext, but the evidence laid out before me proved that this was no game. A ploy would've ended when the camera's stopped rolling. This travesty was happening after business hours behind closed doors where no-one would know besides Sir and her.

While initially, I'd planned to simply vandalize Anastasia's apartment, and perhaps warn her off, now, with rage filling my every cell, I could only think of her as yet another obstacle in the way of my happiness. And obstacles could be removed. I wanted to systematically deconstruct her life so that I could figure out what magical spell she'd placed him under. Never, in all my time with Sir had he left himself so exposed. Even in our few communiques, he was pleasantly remote. He held back so much; a chasm stood between Sir and the rest of the world. Yet, in very little time, this girl managed to tear down his walls and have him practically subbing for her.

In the community, at the clubs, the die-hard balls to the wall Dominants and submissive gather. But for the elite and those given their attentions, bondage, domination, sadism and masochism operate on a different level. Within their ranks, one gets to experience power, pure and uncut. It's a form of euphoria, an aphrodisiac. It's not just the money. Money is common. There, the currency is what buys instant, total obeisance.

A man, or sometimes a woman, can control the entire room with barely a glance or a blink of an eye. Lifting a single finger. I've seen other Doms practically take a knee for them. Like they're in the presence of royalty, gods and demons, fallen to earth. Their magnetic energy, pulling some into its orbit. Dark angels with the power to mesmerize. Master was such a man.

And he's fallen for…this. I don't understand. I she the second coming of Vivian Ward?

From what I've surmised, it's very possible that Anastasia Steele may not realize the power she holds over him, but I do. Those in the community recognize power when they see it. For so long, Sir had remained inviolable and untouchable, but she's changing him. He's pouring out the heart he always claimed not to have, and while a tiny part of me wishes to watch this grand romance play out, the larger part has already cast its vote. If I can't have Master, no-one can.