Ready, Set, Don’t Go

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Inspired by Christian calling Ana’s dad Ray about the engagement in Fifty Shades Darker, before Ana could tell her dad herself. Gehayi and Ket’s comments on that scene (and an accompanying macro or two) during their sporking made me wonder what Ray might’ve said to Christian. Of course, a loving dad would probably have a stroke at the thought of his daughter rushing into marriage after only a few weeks, but, y’know… I tried my best with the canon we’ve got.

The phone rings. You give a dissatisfied grunt, and quickly swallow a mouthful of Molson beer before answering. “Steele residence.”

“Ah, yes. Mr. Steele, it’s Christian Grey.”

You snort—as if a simple name explains the call. Then you remember the young businessman who’d been hanging all over your little Annie during her graduation, just a few short weeks ago. “Huh. You’re my little girl’s new boyfriend, yeah?”

“Yes, sir, that I am,” the young man’s voice sounds a little on the smug side and, already, you feel an urge to tan the boy’s hide. Learn him some respect for his elders.

“An’ you called me ‘cuz why?”

“I just proposed to your daughter a few days ago, Mr. Steele. I thought you should know.”

She couldn’t tell me herself? you wonder, the warning klaxons already going off in your head. “Seems a little fast, you kids gettin’ hitched so early in your relationship.”

“Well, sir, the moment I first saw her, I knew she was the one for me.”

“That’s sweet, kid, that you think so highly of my daughter.” Honestly, it sounds to you like the boy swallowed an entire shipping bay of Hallmark cards—syrupy sentimentality has never been your thing. Those flowery declarations of undying love always seemed to ring false to your ears—actions speak louder than words, after all. “I’d like to talk to my Annie, if’n you don’t mind.”

“Of course, sir.”

You wait a moment, hearing the soft inflections of your daughter’s voice as she briefly converses with her fiancé, then you hear your baby girl sigh, her low gentle tones issuing over the line. “Hi, Dad.”

Your heart twists—the poor thing sounds exhausted. “Christian has just asked me if he can marry you.” Well, not really—the boy didn’t actually ask. But your daughter’s a sensitive soul, and easing her into your concerns gently is a better way to go than simply dumping it all on her at once—she tends to take criticism very hard, your little Annie.

“What did you say?” You hear her voice crack on those words, like she’s scared, and you wish you could reach through the phone line to hug her, to pull her away from everything that could ever hurt her. But she’s a grownup now, and she wants to try and stand on her own—and you gotta try and respect that, no matter how much you want to shield her from anything that might be ugly.

“I said I wanted to talk to you,” you reply gently. “It’s kinda sudden, don’t ya think, Annie? You ain’t known him long. I mean, he’s a nice guy”—and you find yourself reaching for something else to soften the blow regarding her boyfriend—“knows his fishing… But so soon?”

She surprises you by immediately agreeing. “Yes, it is sudden…” A pause, followed by a “hang on” and the sound of her shuffling… to another room, maybe? There’s the sound of a door closing, and the distant sound of traffic. Ah, sounds like she took a walk outside so her boyfriend wouldn’t overhear.

“I know it’s sudden and all—but… well, I love him,” she explains, her tone earnest. What she says next comes out in a rush: “He loves me, he wants to marry me, and there’ll never be anyone else for me.”

You fall silent for a moment, weighing her youth against the knowledge of the love that you still long for, the love that pulled away from you and now lives in Georgia. Which, sad as that may be, reminds you… “Have you told your mother?”

Annie’s voice sounds very small. “No.”

You sigh, trying to let her down gently. “Annie… I know he’s all kinds of rich an’ eligible. But marriage? It’s such a big step. You’re sure, now?”

Her voice comes out as a whisper. “He’s my happily ever after.”

“Whoa…” Your stomach roils at the sound of that—it sounds more to you like she’s trying to convince you… or herself, than actually believing it.

“He’s everything,” she adds, and she sounds like she’s on the verge of crying.

“Annie, Annie, Annie.” The almost sing-songy repetition is something you’ve been doing since her baby days, a sound intended to soothe her. After she takes a deep—if somewhat shaky—breath, you add, “You’re such a headstrong young woman.” True enough, as you fondly remember when she was still in the single digits and very insistent that dinosaurs were way cooler than Barbies. “I hope to God you know what you’re doing.” You pause, and sigh at the inevitable. “Hand me back to him, will you?”

“Sure, Dad. And will you give me away at the wedding?”

“Oh, honey.” Your voice cracks, with pride and with sorrow. “Nothin’ would give me greater pleasure.” As long as he turns out to be the right man for you, you add silently.

“Thank you, Dad. I’ll hand you back to Christian. Be gentle with him—I love him.”

“Sure thing, Annie. An’ come an’ visit this old man. And bring that Christian with you.”

After a brief wait for the phone to change hands, the young man’s smug voice is now back on the line. “Mr. Steele?”

“Christian,” you reply, as evenly as you can. Then you go in for the kill. “Let me make one thing clear to you. You may have my little girl wrapped around your finger right now, but she’ll always be my little girl. And if you ever, ever do anything to harm her, I will find out. Whatever you do to her, I’ll do all that and more to you, an’ I don’t care about goin’ to jail. You understand me, boy?”

He gives you a prissy, sulky, “I believe I do, sir.”

“Good. Now, on the other hand, you treat my daughter like she’s the Queen of Sheba and we won’t have any problems.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, I’ll be seein’ you two very soon.”

“Yes, sir. Have a good day.”

You simply grunt and hang up. You need something stronger than beer right now, so you call your friend Jose and ask him if he wants to go for a drink at the bar.

Or two. Or ten. It’s going to be a long night.


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Mostly, I write stuff. And, like the Egyptians and the Internet, I put cat pictures on my walls. Also, I can read your Tarot.