AN: This is a short story. I have a rough draft of 4 chapters and an epilogue, then again I thought Vantage Point would be 18 chapters, but it turned to a 30 chapter story so who knows. CJ.
God, his feet hurt, as much as he kept active, he had not walked as much as he had in the last few days since his days in the Marines. It was all worth it just to see the constant joy on Sophie's face. "Jason, we are going to find a bathroom, be back soon," Gail called out to him as he leaned against a railing, a second later he sat on the ground and sighed in relief. He was getting a foot massage at the hotel tonight, he'd have to if he stood any hope of surviving the next three days.
"This is just shameful, I mean, your wife and daughter are doing just fine." He knew the voice, and despite knowing her well, it always sent a shiver down his spine.
"Steel, I didn't know this was your type of place." He stood up and leaned on the railing, his feet already protesting.
"Really, you are going to use that shitty codename." She rolled her eyes.
"What could he have possibly done to warrant them sending you?" He asked with a sinking feeling in his stomach.
"He has done nothing wrong, nothing that can't be handled easily, it's the company he keeps. Let's be honest, you would rather me than Olsen." Jason shivered, the lot of them gave him the creeps.
"Elena Lincoln," Jason said knowingly. He knew there was something odd about Grey's relationship with the woman, but he never thought it was anything that would warrant her.
"A young man recently found the courage to go to the authorities, and well they listened and are investigating. We both know what will come out. I would not be required if he had no association with her, but despite her abuse of him, he is still close to her. You can imagine the headlines, his reasoning might make sense to him, but not anyone else. This would destroy GEH, put a hundred thousand plus people in several countries out of work, then there are his subsidiaries and companies whose financial welfare is tied to him.
Last but not least, his friendship with the president. It's an election year Jase, the president does not need Grey and his weekend proclivities coming back to bite him in the ass." Jason understood it all. Christian Grey was just in DC, he was honored, one of the youngest to receive such an honor. Then the president announced several initiatives that involved GEH. It would be a clusterfuck for all involved if Elena's pedophilia came out.
Can't you…" Her glare shut him right up.
"Do not make me put a fucking bullet in you, Taylor. We are not shutting the kid up, he dared to do the right thing, something your boss lacks. Think of Sophie, how would you feel if it was her." He felt ashamed for having even thought it.
"I would rather he ended his association with her. If he does that, I would not need to kill him." Jason felt hopeful for the first time.
"Why can't you take Lincoln out?" Jason asked.
"You know how we work Jason, we do not go after individuals when there is so much heat on them. As much as it would appear natural, there will still be an investigation, and your boss's association with her will still come out. Her dying just as an investigation into her had been open will appear suspicious to some overzealous detective, we cannot have that. And what stops James Carlson from releasing the information he has after she is dead?" Jason rubbed his face and let out a loud sigh.
Of course, what she didn't mention was that they hoped this would set a particular scenario in motion, a scenario that would allow them to clean this all up without any of this becoming public. It started with Christian Grey cutting ties with Elena Lincoln.
"I will tell him... I will make him understand." He blurted loudly, not caring who was listening.
"You will do no such thing. I am only here to give you this, in case he decides to do the right thing." She handed him a flash drive and walked away. He stared down at it with a sinking feeling, he knew Elena Lincoln would one day destroy all that Christian Grey had built.
Christian Grey woke to a stranger in his living room. She was sat on the couch facing the floor to ceiling window drinking a cup of tea from one of his ridiculously expensive Rosenthal Versace Medusa Gala Gold teacups. "Good morning, Mr. Grey, please join me." She turned and stared at him. He was taken aback by her beauty, brunette, pale and small in stature, just his type, with unearthly blue eyes that were beyond words, and yet held a look that sent a shiver down his spine. No one broke into what was supposed to be a secure penthouse, get passed two guards, and order him about. He was beyond incensed, but whatever he was about to say got lodged in his throat as he spied the gun with the silencer. "I am not a very patient woman, Mr. Grey. I was quite polite in my request." Her tone of voice finally matched her eyes. Cold and deadly. He walked to the far side of the couch and sat as though her bullet wouldn't get that far.
"What did you do to my security?" If Sawyer and Ryan were alive, they would have intervened already.
"They are perfectly fine, just taking a nap. A slight headache when they wake up nothing more. Lovely Susannah is in the same condition. I'm afraid the dosage was geared more towards your security than Susannah, so she might react less favorably to the gas. You will have to send her home to recuperate. I know you were looking forward to a wonderful day in the playroom, but not this weekend. Anyway, I doubt you will have the time." Christian eyes widened at the casual revelation of his well-guarded secret. She took another sip of her tea and placed the cup back on the saucer. Christian could not help but admire her; everything about her was beautiful and delicate, just his type, and yet he knew it was all deceiving. "Now, onto my reason for this visit. A few days ago, a young man by the name of James Carlson reported Elena Lincoln for sexual and physical abuse." She watched as all color drained from his face. He wobbled on the couch but managed to stay upright. "I see you understand the implication of what an investigation into Lincoln would do to you." He did, by God, did he just. "It would not be so bad if you had cut ties with your abuser, but you didn't. You can imagine the headlines, 'The abused becomes the abuser.'" Christian couldn't argue; he could see it all. "You knew the woman was a pedophile, and yet you went into business with her, and she is considered by all as Christian Grey's closest confidant. We will not squash the investigation, that is not an option. We will give you two options. One... cut all ties with Lincoln and make it appear as though all that is known was never truly the case or two… no one speaks ill of the dead." She took another sip of her tea.
He didn't need to be a rocket scientist to know what she meant. Either Elena went, or he did. What he didn't understand was why. "Why?"
"The United States government has publicly tied itself to you. You are seen as a friend to the goddamn president. We cannot afford this scandal, I mean we were willing to overlook your weekend proclivities, but this is not something we can sweep under the carpet. We will not aid Elena Lincon in her continued abuse of children. We can also not afford the economic fallout from what would happen to GEH if this got out. We have just crawled our way out of a recession, we cannot afford any more economic hiccups." She went on to give him a long list of reasons why, but it was all bullshit. Christian knew his association with the president was the sole reason for this. He knew his association with the big wigs in DC would bring greater scrutiny, and he had been so careful. On top of that, he'd just accepted an honor he knew he should have turned down, but his parents had been so proud, and he just could not let them down again.
"Elena Lincoln will be out of my life by the end of the week." He whispered. In reality, he knew he had no other choice, but he would have done so anyway with the revelation regarding James Carlson.
"That is a wise choice, Mr. Grey. I will be keeping an eye on you. She is not your friend, keep that in mind." She warned.
For a man so intelligent, he had been a complete idiot when it came to Elena. He had spent years justifying her actions to himself, only to learn today, he wasn't the only kid. When he thought of the years he had wasted, the money spent hiding, all undone by her selfishness. He honestly didn't think he could go on practicing the lifestyle for fear of being found out. Some people were open in their practice of BDSM, he wasn't, and he didn't think he could ever do that. With Elena's upcoming arrest, eyes would be on him, and he couldn't afford a single misstep. He could trust no one to find him subs as it was, Elena had made sure of that. He felt a sense of cold dread creep down his spine at the thought of no longer having that support. "Fuck you, Elena." He screamed picking up the teacup she had used and smashed it against the floor. He collapsed back on the couch and buried his face in his hands. What was he going to do? How was he going to cope without the playroom?
"Sir." He looked up at Susannah, and the anger welled anew inside him. He was going to crush that bitch for taking this from him.
"Susannah, I'm afraid I will have to cut our weekend short due to unforeseen circumstances." He noticed she didn't look too well and seemed relieved by his words.
"I understand, sir. I will leave you be." She quickly left him alone. During the week, he would have Taylor pack up her things and send them to her. He didn't need the drama of ending the contract right now.
Taylor was not the least bit surprised to find himself and Welch in Grey's office. "Welch, I need you to get me everything, and I mean everything you can on Elena Lincoln," Christian ordered.
"No need." Taylor piped up, handing over the drive Steel had left. Both men turned to look at him. "She approached me in Disney world while I was with my wife and child." Taylor knew he had two hands to play. One, admit he knew, and yet had not warned his boss. Two, admit it and emphasize the fact that his boss's fucked up friendship had put others in danger. Deal with Christian's anger or guilt, he chose guilt. He wasn't entirely sure his boss was capable of emoting guilt, but it was the better option.
"Damn Taylor, I'm…"
"No need, it is what it is." He said with a shrug.
"Steel." Welch finally caught on.
"Yeah," Taylor said with a resigned sigh.
"Who is Steel?" Christian asked, looking at both men.
"That would be the young lady you woke up to find in your living room. She is what we call a troubleshooter. They are problem solvers, death is usually the last option, but it's an option. Steel, more than most, would always try to solve the problem with the intended target still left alive." Taylor answered.
"What could you possibly…" Welch started but then looked down at the drive-in Christian's hand and answered his own question. "Elena Lincoln." He said, surprised. He never really liked her, no one did. "Who did she piss off."
"Lincoln is a pedophile, and one of her victims has gone to the authorities," Taylor answered before Christian could try and use a few diplomatic words to answer the question.
"You knew." The disgust was evident in Welch's voice. "My God, how can you know such a thing and allow her anywhere near you? Jesus, she sits on charities for children, or was that just a way to troll for victims." The idea that Elena could have found her victims using his mother made him sick to his stomach. The thought had never occurred to him, not once. "The government can not afford for your association to derail their upcoming campaign." Welch understood it all; after all, he had spent a good few years in the covert section of the government before joining GEH. Welch stood to leave. "Do you need me for anything else?"
"No, that will be all." Christian found he couldn't meet the man's eye. This is what he would have dealt with had Elena been arrested while he was still in business with her. At that moment, he was very grateful for his friendship with the president, or else he would never have seen this coming.
"I had no idea there were others." He looked up at Taylor.
"I didn't think you did," Taylor replied. If he had thought so, he would not be standing there trying to help the man distance himself from the witch.
"What do you need me to do?" He asked.
"I need eyes on her. If you can also find out how the investigation is going, that would help. I don't want her spooked before I am ready."
"This Steel, what is her first name?"
Taylor raised an eyebrow at the question. "Steel is her codename, as for her name, I am not at liberty to divulge that information." Taylor left Christian's office to find Welch waiting for him.
"He didn't know." Taylor defended.
"How many pedophiles have you ever known to target just one kid?" Taylor glared at the man.
"If you have your mind already made up, why are you still here. I have read the file on Lincoln, Carlson came years after Grey. No one could have known. Hell, the file the government has isn't all that detailed either. So no, he had no idea. The revelation he wasn't the only one has him rather pissed." Taylor though, didn't believe his boss was pissed for the right reasons, but that was a detail he refused to dwell on. He sat behind his desk with a loud sigh, his workweek had just started, and already he felt drained. "Go easy on him, will you, this is already doing a number on him." Welch nodded, walking away.
This time when he woke up, she was in his bedroom. "Good morning, Mr. Grey, from the sounds of it, it would seem you had quite a pleasant dream." He could hear the teasing lilt in her voice.
"I'm meeting with Elena tomorrow." He quickly responded. He had no desire to die, especially for someone like Elena Lincoln.
"I'm very much aware of that, I come bearing gifts. Well, I hope by the end, you will view it as such." She tossed another drive at him.
"What is it?" She moved, and he saw the teacup as she slowly raised it to her lips.
"I know that despite the decision you made, you still do not see what Lincoln did to you as wrong. That is the difference between you and James, he saw it the minute he got to MIT. Just a week away from her, and he realized just how much she had screwed him over. While you abided by her rule and kept to yourself. James wanted to know why he couldn't have the full college experience, and he soon got his answer. He soon learned just how fucked up Lincoln was. That was when he started recording their conversations. My favorite was when she realized he was no longer under her thumb, and she was forced to pay him off. You got one hundred thousand dollars, which was a loan that you were still paying until this week. " Christian really couldn't argue, not because he was afraid of her, but because it was true. Up until Monday, he'd co sighed several million in loans for Elena.
"I have never heard of someone paying back hush money, but yet you did. James, on the other hand, got two hundred and fifty thousand dollars six months ago and still went to the cops." She chuckled. "You had those moments of clarity when away from her, but she knew just what to say to draw you back in. Your meetings always started with you putting her in her place, but by the end, she had you right back under her." If Christian was honest with himself, he didn't see it that way. Elena knew her place, he'd never been under any illusion as to the kind of person she was. His anger indeed wasn't entirely about what she did, but about her carelessness and just how it was fucking up his life. She could see it too and wasn' the least bit surprised by it.
"Listen to the contents of that drive before you meet with her tomorrow, it might just be the right motivator." If Christian Grey couldn't see what Elena had done to him after listening, then there was no hope for him.
Christian knew there was no going back to bed, he got out of bed and headed to his office. A few hours later clarity ensured.
He felt numb, the contents though innocuous sounding at first, had proven to be anything but. It was recordings of conversations between him and Elena in the past three months. He had found nothing wrong with them, that was until he listened to the conversations between Elena and James Carlson and clarity became his friend. The revelation of just how finely he'd being played left him cold. All of a sudden, the reason Elena kept him isolated was not for him but for her. Had he remotely engaged with anyone at Harvard, he would have realized just how full of shit she truly was. She had kept him needing her, kept him dependant on her, and he never saw it. She had such control over him; it made the control he believed he had, look like the joke it was. Becoming a Dom, thinking he was finally the master of his own destiny, had proved to be nothing but a well-played confidence job by Elena. He was master of nothing, not even his own life. The playroom he realized was designed by her. His contract was written by her, somehow he had never seen the subtly ways in which she controlled everything, but now it was all clear.
For twenty-four hours, the word payback had rattled around in his brain with increased toxicity. He had formulated and discarded several ways of handling his final meeting with Elena. As she sauntered towards him, he realized none of that mattered, he didn't care for payback. Whatever happened, Elena Lincoln would leave his penthouse with her life destroyed, and it would be entirely her fault. He was not going to do anything that gave her an excuse to blame anyone but herself. However she spent the rest of her fucked up life; she would know she was entirely responsible for the mess she found herself in.
"Christian, darling." He leaned back as she moved to kiss his cheek. She raised an eyebrow but ignored it. It wasn't the first time he'd he shut down her greeting, but every other time, by the end of their meeting, he would have accepted her parting kiss. Well, not today.
Without a word, he pushed the file Steel had given Taylor in front of her. He said nothing as the blood slowly drained from her face. Her smug smile slowly morphing into one of horror and shock. She finally looked up at him, and he waited patiently for her to try and worm her way out of this. "You had me investigated?" In truth, her accusation was one she hoped was true because she could not dare think of the alternative. His face must have been evident in its disbelief regarding her accusation as panic set in anew when she realized just how wrong she was. "Then, what is this?" She shouted.
"The Seattle Police Department has opened an investigation into you. James Carlson, currently attending MIT, has accused you of sexual and physical abuse. He gave the department several recordings of phone conversations and face to face meetings between the two of you. There are several of you talking about your practice of BDSM with him starting when he was fifteen years old. There is also one of you paying him two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in hush money. He took your money and still went to the authorities." The alternative Elena prayed would not be possible, was the very one being laid out in front of her. Her grip on the breakfast table was the only thing holding her up. This was her worst nightmare come to life.
"Thanks to Taylor's friendship with someone close to the investigation, we were given a heads up. I'm sure you can understand my need to distance myself from you. This investigation cannot be stopped, and even if it could, I am not inclined to do so. I have pulled my backing with the banks. I have sold my share in Esclava, and as far as anyone is concerned, we were never in business together. As you can imagine, due to my financial standing with the banks, they have agreed to make sure my name was never linked with your account in any way, shape, or form. I will be seeing my family later today and informing them of the entire ugly truth. I doubt I would have to warn them to keep their distance from you. You left me no choice, Elena, I employ over one hundred thousand people worldwide. I have financial stakes in several businesses all over the world, businesses that cannot afford to be linked to a scandal. Above all else, my recent connections with DC cannot be put in jeopardy. That was made rather clear to me in a rather life-altering way. You have a week, if that before they come for you, I suggest you get your affairs in order. I may not have seen it until recently, but I am much a victim as James; he had the courage and the sense to do the right thing. I will help any way required of me as it is the right thing to do. I would say good luck, but I doubt even God himself would come to your aid." What got to Elena more than anything else, was the cold, dispassionate way in which he delivered the news. There was no anger, no bellowing rants, no flailing arms, no threats. It was a cold and concise delivery she could feel down to her bones.
She realized he hadn't asked why she went after James. He had not accused her of lying to him all these years. He hadn't asked if there were others and just how many. It seemed Christian Grey neither cared why, who, what, or how she had gotten herself in this predicament. He had called Elena over to inform her he was not going to stand by her, and she couldn't summon an ounce of reason to blame him for his decision.
She racked her brain to think of something, anything to bring him back. She could always do it; she had failed spectacularly with James, but not Christian, her Christian. She always knew what to say to get him back in line.
"Taylor." He called for his trusted CPO. It seemed this time, she wasn't even going to get the chance to try and claw her way back into his good graces.
"Christian, please…" he turned on his heels and left her standing there as the walls closed in on her. She tried going after him, but Taylor's hands gripped her bicep and pulled her towards the elevator. "I need to talk to him… make him understand. Please, please, let me talk to him." Her pleas fell on deaf ears. He tossed her into the elevator and stood in front of it until the doors closed. He locked it for good measure.
"Good riddance." He murmured, heading back to his quarters.