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 How I met your daughter

Ray Steele doesn’t enjoy talking to his daughter, because they don’t really talk. A few seconds into the conversation, Ana invariably brings up the game. She seems to be under the impression that there’s always some game on – she’s probably right – and that he wants to talk about that more than he wants to talk about things that interest her – she’s wrong. It makes him sad that his daughter thinks that he’d rather talk about a game than about her and what’s going on in her life.

However, Ray likes talking to his daughter’s boyfriend even less. Ana loves Christian. She adores him. That much is obvious. Her father thinks that Christian is a jackass, but, for Ana’s sake, Ray tries to like him.

‘I feel this overwhelming desire to protect her,’ Christian admits, savouring an expensive wine. Ray sips his beer, almost defiantly.

‘Have I told you already about how we met?’ Christian asks. Ray shakes his head. He has heard this story before and it’s not particularly interesting, but it’s better than watching Christian and thinking about the possibility that one day this dickbag might become his son-in-law. Ray grips the bottle a little tighter. Don’t think about that, he urges himself. That way madness lies.

‘This is not our initial meeting, you understand?’ Christian explains. Ray nods and gestures at the waiter to please bring him another beer.

‘This is when I first realised that Ana had to be protected.’

Ray raises an eyebrow. Ana is prone to tripping; that’s true. And she can be very gullible. Still, Christian is talking about her as if she is a child. Well, okay, Ray worries about her sometimes. Ana likes to think that she’s wise beyond her years, but at heart she’s just a kid. So, Ray thinks about her like that too, but he is her father. This guy is her boyfriend. Isn’t that creepy? Ray wonders whether he’s just inventing reasons not to like Christian now.

‘We had met, I think, three or four times at this point. Ana called me and she was drunk, but she refused to tell me where she was. Naturally, I tracked her phone and went to get her. When I found her José was kissing her against her will, but I told him to back off. Soon afterwards, Ana passed out. I then took her to my hotel room and shared a bed with her that night to keep an eye on her.’

Ray’s mind races. Christian tracked Ana’s phone? Jose assaulted her? Christian took his unconscious daughter to a hotel room and slept in the same bed doing God knows what with her? This is not okay, Ray thinks. He releases his hold on the empty bottle for fear of breaking it with his death grip or – better yet – grabbing the neck, smashing the bottom against the table and stabbing Christian in the face with its jagged edges.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ Christian quickly says, catching Ray’s look of horror. ‘Since then Ana has built up a decent alcohol tolerance and I monitor her intake, so this won’t happen again.’

Ray starts to protest that Ana being drunk is the least disturbing part of the horror story Christian just delivered so casually, but Christian cuts him off.

‘Plus, Ana is guarded at all times and José is on the list of people who are not allowed to see her. Another threat eliminated,’ Christian announces. He is absolutely serious and obviously thinks that there’s nothing wrong with what he just said, which chills Ray to the bone. Who else is on that list? What if he ever ends up on it?

‘I will keep your daughter safe, whether she wants me to or not,’ Christian adds. He sounds proud. He looks smug while Ray contemplates all the ways he could kill this creep and dispose of the body. It is extremely gratifying. He needs to be careful, though. Ana can never know.

                                                              (***)

One week later.

‘Christian, I’d like to tell you a story. It’s called: How Christian Grey met his end.’

The end.

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