Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 26 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 26


I wake with a jolt. I think I’ve just fallen down some stairs in a dream, and I bolt upright, momentarily disorientated. It is dark, and I’m in Christian’s bed alone. Something has woken me, some nagging thought. I glance over at the alarm clock on his bedside. It is 5:00 in the morning, but I feel rested. Why is that? Oh – it’s the time difference – it would be 8:00 a.m. in Georgia. Holy crap… I need to take my pill. I clamber out of bed, grateful for whatever it is that has woken me. I can hear faint notes from the piano. Christian is playing. This I must see. I love watching him play. Naked, I grab my bathrobe from the chair and wander quietly down the corridor, slipping on my robeand listening to the magical sound of the melodic lament that’s coming from the great room.
Shrouded in darkness, Christian sits in a bubble of light as he plays, and his hair glints with burnished copper highlights. He looks naked, though I know he’s wearing his PJ bottoms. He’s concentrating, playing beautifully, lost in the melancholy of the music. I hesitate, watching from the shadows, not wanting to interrupt him. I want to hold him. He looks lost, sad even, and achingly lonely – or maybe it’s just the music that’s so full of poignant sorrow. He finishes the piece, pauses for a split second, then starts to play it again. I move cautiously toward him, drawn as the moth to the flame… the idea makes me smile. He glances up at me and frowns before his gaze returns to his hands
Oh crap, is he pissed off that I am disturbing him?
“You should be asleep,” he scolds mildly.
I can tell he’s pre-occupied with something.
“So should you,” I retort not quite as mildly.
He glances up again, his lips twitching with a trace of a smile.
“Are you scolding me, Miss Steele?”
“Yes, Mr. Grey, I am.”
“Well, I can’t sleep.” He frowns once more as a trace of irritation or anger flashes across his face. With me? Surely not.
I ignore his facial expression and very bravely sit down beside him on the piano stool, placing my head on his bare shoulder to watch his deft, agile fingers caress the keys. He pauses fractionally, and then continues to the end of the piece.
“What was that?” I ask softly.
“Chopin. Opus 28, number 4. In E minor, if you’re interested,” he murmurs.
“I’m always interested in what you do.”
He turns and softly presses his lips against my hair.
“I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“You didn’t. Play the other one.”
“Other one?”
“The Bach piece that you played the first night I stayed.”
“Oh, the Marcello.”
He starts to play slowly and deliberately. I feel the movement of his hands in his shoulder as I lean against him and close my eyes. The sad, soulful notes swirl slowly and mournfully around us, echoing off the walls. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece, sadder even than the Chopin, and I lose myself to the beauty of the lament. To a certain extent, it reflects how I feel. The deep poignant longing I have to know this extraordinary man better, to try and understand his sadness. All too soon, the piece is at an end.
“Why do you only play such sad music?”
I sit upright and gaze up at him as he shrugs in answer to my question, his expression wary.
“So you were just six when you started to play?” I prompt.
He nods, his wary look intensifying. After a moment he volunteers.
“I threw myself into learning the piano to please my new mother.”
“To fit into the perfect family?”
“Yes, so to speak,” he says evasively. “Why are you awake? Don’t you need to recover from yesterday’s exertions?”
“It’s 8:00 in the morning for me. And I need to take my pill.”
He raises his eyebrows in surprise.
“Well remembered,” he murmurs, and I can tell he’s impressed. His lips quirk up in a half smile.
“Only you would start a course of time-specific birth control pills in a different time zone. Perhaps you should wait half an hour and then another half hour tomorrow morning. So s eventually you can take them at a reasonable time.”
“Good plan,” I breathe. “So what shall we do for half an hour?” I blink innocently at him.
“I can think of a few things,” he grins, gray eyes bright. I gaze back impassively as my insides clench and melt under his knowing look.
“On the other hand, we could talk,” I suggest quietly.
His brow creases.
“I prefer what I have in mind.” He scoops me onto his lap.
“You’d always rather have sex than talk,” I laugh, steadying myself by holding on to his upper arms.
“True. Especially with you.” He nuzzles my hair and starts a steady trail of kisses from below my ear to my throat. “Maybe on my piano,” he whispers.
Oh my. My whole body tightens at the thought. Piano. Wow.
“I want to get something straight,” I whisper as my pulse starts to accelerate, and my inner goddess closes her eyes, reveling in the feel of his lips on me.
He pauses momentarily before continuing his sensual assault.
“Always so eager for information, Miss Steele. What needs straightening out?” he breathes against my skin at the base of my neck, continuing his soft gentle kisses.
“Us,” I whisper as I close my eyes.
“Hmm. What about us?” He pauses his trail of kisses along my shoulder.
“The contract.”
He lifts his head to gaze down at me, a hint of amusement in his eyes, and sighs. He strokes his fingertips down my cheek.
“Well, I think the contract is moot, don’t you?” His voice is low and husky, his eyes soft.
“Moot.” He smiles. I gape at him quizzically.
“But you were so keen.”
“Well, that was before. Anyway, the Rules aren’t moot, they still stand.” His expression hardens slightly.
“Before? Before what?”
“Before,”… He pauses, and the wary expression is back, “more.” He shrugs.
“Besides, we’ve been in the playroom twice now, and you haven’t run screaming for the hills.”
“Do you expect me to?”
“Nothing you do is expected, Anastasia,” he says dryly.
“So, let me be clear. You just want me to follow the Rules element of the contract all the time but not the rest of the contract?”
“Except in the playroom. I want you to follow the spirit of the contract in the playroom, and yes, I want you to follow the rules – all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”
“And if I break one of the rules?”
“Then I’ll punish you.”
“But won’t you need my permission?”
“Yes, I will.”
“And if I say no?”
He gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.
“If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.”
I pull away from him and stand. I need some distance. He frowns as I stare down at him. He looks puzzled and wary again.
“So the punishment aspect remains.”
“Yes, but only if you break the rules.”
“I’ll need to re-read them,” I say, trying to recall the detail.
“I’ll fetch them for you.” His tone is suddenly businesslike.
Whoa. This has gotten serious so quickly. He rises from the piano and walks lithely to his study. My scalp prickles. Jeez, I need some tea. The future of our so-called relationship is being discussed at 5:45 in the morning when he’s pre-occupied with something else – is this wise? I head into the kitchen which is still shrouded in darkness. Where are the light switches? I find them, flick them on, and pour water into the kettle. My pill! I rummage in my purse that I left on the breakfast bar and find them quickly. One swallow, and I’m done. By the time I finish, Christian is back, sitting on one of the bar stools, watching me intently.
“Here you go.” He pushes a typed piece of paper toward me, and I notice that he’s crossed some things out.
The Submissive will obey any instructions given by The Dominant immediately without hesitation or reservation and in an expeditious manner. The Submissive will agree to any sexual activity deemed fit and pleasurable by the Dominant excepting those activities which are outlined in hard limits (Appendix A). She will do so eagerly and without hesitation.
The Submissive will ensure she achieves a minimum of eight seven hours sleep a night when she is not with The Dominant.
The Submissive will eat regularly to maintain her health and wellbeing from a prescribed list of foods (Appendix 4). The Submissive will not snack between meals, with the exception of fruit.
While with The Dominant, The Submissive will wear clothing only approved by The Dominant. The Dominant will provide a clothing budget for The Submissive, which The Submissive shall utilize. The Dominant shall accompany The Submissive to purchase clothing on an ad hoc basis.
The Dominant shall provide The Submissive with a personal trainer four three times a week in hour-long sessions at times to be mutually agreed between the personal trainer and The Submissive. The personal trainer will report to The Dominant on The Submissive’s progress.
Personal Hygiene/Beauty:
The Submissive will keep herself clean and shaved and/or waxed at all times. The Submissive will visit a beauty salon of The Dominant’s choosing at times to be decided by The Dominant, and undergo whatever treatments The Dominant sees fit.
Personal Safety:
The Submissive will not drink to excess, smoke, take recreational drugs or put herself in any unnecessary danger.
Personal Qualities:
The Submissive will not enter into any sexual relations with anyone other than The Dominant. The Submissive will conduct herself in a respectful and modest manner at all times. She must recognize that her behavior is a direct reflection on The Dominant. She shall be held accountable for any misdeeds, wrongdoings and misbehavior committed when not in the presence of the Dominant.
Failure to comply with any of the above will result in immediate punishment, the nature of which shall be determined by The Dominant.
“So the obedience thing still stands?”
“Oh, yes.” He grins.
I shake my head amused, and before I realize it, I roll my eyes at him.
“Did you just roll your eyes at me, Anastasia?” He breathes.
Oh fuck.
“Possibly, depends what your reaction is.”
“Same as always,” he says, shaking his head slightly, his eyes alight with excitement.
I swallow instinctively and a frisson of exhilaration runs through me.
“So… ” Holy shit. What am I going to do?
“Yes?” He licks his lower lip.
“You want to spank me now.”
“Yes. And I will.”
“Oh, really, Mr. Grey?” I challenge, grinning back at him. Two can play this game.
“Are you going to stop me?”
“You’re going to have to catch me first.”
His eyes widen a fraction, and he grins, slowly getting to his feet.
“Oh, really, Miss Steele?”
The breakfast bar is between us. I have never been so grateful for its existence than in this moment.
“And you’re biting your lip,” he breathes, moving slowly to his left as I move to mine.
“You wouldn’t,” I tease. “After all, you roll your eyes.” I try reasoning with him. He continues to move toward his left, as do I.
“Yes, but you’ve just raised the bar on the excitement stakes with this game.” His eyes blaze, and wild anticipation emanates from him.
“I’m quite fast you know.” I try for nonchalance.
“So am I.”
He’s stalking me, in his own kitchen.
“Are you going to come quietly?” he asks.
“Do I ever?”
“Miss Steele, what do you mean?” he smirks. “It’ll be worse for you if I have to come and get you.”
“That’s only if you catch me, Christian. And right now, I have no intention of letting you catch me.”
“Anastasia, you may fall and hurt yourself. Which will put you in direct contravention of rule number seven.”
“I have been in danger since I met you, Mr. Grey, rules or no rules.”
“Yes you have.” He pauses, and his brow furrows slightly.
Suddenly, he lunges for me, making me squeal and run for the dining room table. I manage to escape, putting the table between us. My heart is pounding and adrenaline has spiked through my body… boy… this is so thrilling. I’m a child again, though that’s not right. I watch him carefully as he paces deliberately toward me. I inch away.
“You certainly know how to distract a man, Anastasia.”
“We aim to please, Mr. Grey. Distract you from what?”
“Life. The universe.” He waves one of his hands vaguely.
“You did seem very pre-occupied as you were playing.”
He stops and folds his arms, his expression amused.
“We can do this all day, baby, but I will get you, and it will just be worse for you when I do.”
“No, you won’t.” I must not be over-confident. I repeat this as a mantra. My subconscious has found her Nikes, and she’s on the starting blocks.
“Anyone would think you didn’t want me to catch you.”
“I don’t. That’s the point. I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you.”
His entire demeanor changes in a nanosecond. Gone is playful Christian, and he stands staring at me as if I’d slapped him. He’s ashen.
“That’s how you feel?” he whispers.
Those four words, and the way he utters them, speaks volumes. Oh no. They tell me so much more about him and how he feels. They tell me about his fear and loathing. I frown. No, I don’t feel that bad. No way. Do I?
“No. It doesn’t affect me quite as much as that, but it gives you an idea,” I murmur, staring anxiously at him.
“Oh,” he says.
Crap. He looks completely and utterly lost, like I’ve pulled the rug from under his feet.
Taking a deep breath, I move round the table until I am standing in front of him, gazing into his apprehensive eyes.
“You hate it that much?” he breathes, his eyes filled with horror.
“Well… no,” I reassure him. Jeez – that’s how he feels about people touching him? “No. I feel ambivalent about it. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it.”
“But last night, in the playroom, you… ” he trails off.
“I do it for you, Christian, because you need it. I don’t. You didn’t hurt me last night. That was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.”
His gray eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before he answers softly.
“I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take.”
He runs his hand through his hair, and he shrugs.
“I just need it.” He pauses, gazing at me with anguish, and he closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I can’t tell you,” he whispers.
“Can’t or won’t?”
“So you know why.”
“But you won’t tell me.”
“If I do, you will run screaming from this room, and you’ll never want to return.” He stares at me warily. “I can’t risk that, Anastasia.”
“You want me to stay.”
“More than you know. I couldn’t bear to lose you.”
Oh my.
He gazes down at me, and suddenly, he pulls me into his arms and he’s kissing me, kissing me passionately. It takes me completely by surprise, and I sense his panic and desperate need in his kiss.
“Don’t leave me. You said you wouldn’t leave me, and you begged me not to leave you, in your sleep,” he murmurs against my lips.
Oh… my nocturnal confessions.
“I don’t want to go.” And my heart clenches, turning itself inside out.
This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he’s lost… somewhere in his darkness. His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light.
“Show me,” I whisper.
“Show you?”
“Show me how much it can hurt.”
“Punish me. I want to know how bad it can get.”
Christian steps back away from me, completely confused.
“You would try?”
“Yes. I said I would.” But I have an ulterior motive. If I do this for him, maybe he will let me touch him.
He blinks at me.
“Ana, you’re so confusing.”
“I’m confused too. I’m trying to work this out. And you and I will know, once and for all, if I can do this. If I can handle this, then maybe you –” My words fail me, and his eyes widen again. He knows I am referring to the touch thing. For a moment, he looks torn, but then a steely resolve settles on his features, and he narrows his eyes, gazing at me speculatively as if weighing up alternatives.
Abruptly, he clasps my arm in a firm grip and turns, leading me out of the great room, up the stairs, and to the playroom. Pleasure and pain, reward and punishment – his words from so long ago echo through my mind.
“I’ll show you how bad it can be, and you can make your own mind up.” He pauses by the door. “Are you ready for this?”
I nod, my mind made up, and I’m vaguely lightheaded, faint as all the blood leaves my face.
He opens the door, and still grasping my arm, grabs what looks like a belt from the rack beside the door, then leads me over to the red leather bench in the far corner of the room.
“Bend over the bench,” he murmurs softly.
Okay. I can do this. I bend over the smooth soft leather. He’s left my bathrobe on. In a quiet part of my brain, I’m vaguely surprised that he hasn’t made me take it off. Holy fuck this is going to hurt… I know. My subconscious has passed out, and my inner goddess is endeavoring to look brave.
“We’re here because you said yes, Anastasia. And you ran from me. I am going to hit you six times, and you will count with me.”
Why the hell doesn’t he just get on with it? He always makes such a meal of punishing me. I roll my eyes, knowing full well he can’t see me.
He lifts the hem of my bathrobe, and for some reason, this feels more intimate than being naked. He gently caresses my behind, running his warm hand all over both cheeks and down to the tops of my thighs.
“I am doing this so that you remember not to run from me, and as exciting as it is, I never want you to run from me,” he whispers.
And the irony is not lost on me. I was running to avoid this. If he’d opened his arms, I’d run to him, not away from him.
“And you rolled your eyes at me. You know how I feel about that.” Suddenly, it’s gone – that nervous edgy fear in his voice. He’s back from wherever he’s been. I hear it in his tone, in the way he places his fingers on my back, holding me – and the atmosphere in the room changes.
I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow. It comes hard, snapping across my backside, and the bite of the belt is everything I feared. I cry out involuntarily, and take a huge gulp of air.
“Count, Anastasia!” he commands.
“One!” I shout at him, and it sounds like an expletive.
He hits me again, and the pain pulses and echoes along the line of the belt. Holy shit… that smarts.
“Two!” I scream. It feels so good to scream.
His breathing is ragged and harsh. Whereas mine is almost non-existent as I desperately scrabble around my psyche looking for some internal strength. The belt cuts into my flesh again.
“Three!” Tears spring unwelcome into my eyes. Jeez – this is harder than I thought – so much harder than the spanking. He’s not holding anything back.
“Four!” I yell as the belt bites me again, and now the tears are streaming down my face. I don’t want to cry. It angers me that I am crying. He hits me again.
“Five.” My voice is more a choked, strangled sob, and in this moment, I think I hate him. One more, I can do one more. My backside feels as if it’s on fire.
“Six,” I whisper as the blistering pain cuts across me again, and I hear him drop the belt behind me, and he’s pulling me into his arms, all breathless and compassionate… and I want none of him.
“Let go… no… ” And I find myself struggling out his grasp, pushing him away. Fighting him.
“Don’t touch me!” I hiss. I straighten and stare at him, and he’s watching me as if I might bolt, gray eyes wide, bemused. I dash the tears angrily out of my eyes with the backs of my hands, glaring at him.
“This is what you really like? Me, like this?” I use the sleeve of the bathrobe to wipe my nose.
He gazes at me warily.
“Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.”
“Ana,” he pleads, shocked.
“Don’t you dare, Ana me! You need to sort your shit out, Grey!” And with that, I turn stiffly, and I walk out of the playroom, closing the door quietly behind me.
I clasp the door handle behind me and briefly lean back against the door. Where to go? Do I run? Do I stay? I am so mad, angry scalding tears spill down my cheeks, and I brush them furiously aside. I just want to curl up. Curl up and recuperate in some way. Heal my shattered faith. How could I have been so stupid? Of course it hurts.
Tentatively, I rub my backside. Aah! It’s sore. Where to go? Not his room. My room, or the room that will be mine, no, is mine… was mine. This is why he wanted me to keep it. He knew I would need distance from him.
I launch myself stiffly in that direction, conscious that Christian may follow me. It is still dark in the bedroom, dawn only a whisper in the skyline. I climb awkwardly into bed, careful not to sit on my aching and tender backside. I keep the bathrobe on, wrapping it around me, and curl up and really let go – sobbing hard into my pillow.
What was I thinking? Why did I let him do that to me? I wanted the dark, to explore how bad it could be – but it’s too dark for me. I cannot do this. Yet, this is what he does, this is how he gets his kicks.
What a monumental wake-up call. And to be fair to him, he warned me and warned me, time and again. He’s not normal. He has needs that I cannot fulfill. I realize that now. I don’t want him to hit me like that again, ever. I think of the couple of times he has hit me, and how easy he was on me by comparison. Is that enough for him? I sob harder into the pillow. I am going to lose him. He won’t want to be with me if I can’t give him this. Why, why, why have I fallen in love with Fifty Shades? Why? Why can’t I love José, or Paul Clayton, or someone like me?
Oh, his distraught look as I left. I was so cruel, so shocked by the savagery… will he forgive me… will I forgive him? My thoughts are all haywire and jumbled, echoing and bouncing off the inside of my skull. My subconscious is shaking her head sadly, and my inner goddess is nowhere to be seen. Oh, this is a dark morning of the soul for me. I’m so alone. I want my Mom. I remember her parting words at the airport,
Follow your heart, darling, and please, please – try not to over-think things. Relax and enjoy. You are so young, sweetheart, you have so much to experience, just let it happen. You deserve the best of everything.
I did follow my heart, and I have a sore ass and an anguished, broken spirit to show for it. I have to go. That’s it… I have to leave. He’s no good for me, and I am no good for him. How can we possibly make this work? And the thought of not seeing him again practically chokes me… my Fifty Shades.
I hear the door click open. Oh no – he’s here. He puts something down on the bedside table, and the bed shifts under his weight as he climbs in behind me.
“Hush,” he breathes, and I want to pull away from him, move to the other side of the bed, but I’m paralyzed. I cannot move and lie stiffly, not yielding at all. “Don’t fight me, Ana, please,” he whispers. Gently, he pulls me into his arms, burying his nose in my hair, kissing my neck.
“Don’t hate me,” he breathes softly against my skin, his voice achingly sad. My heart clenches anew and releases a fresh wave of silent sobbing. He continues to kiss me softly, tenderly, but I remain aloof and wary.
We lie together like this, neither saying anything for ages. He just holds me, and very gradually, I relax and stop crying. Dawn comes and goes, and the soft light gets brighter as morning moves on, and still we lie quietly.
“I bought you some Advil and some arnica cream,” he says after a long while.
I turn very slowly in his arms so I can face him. I am resting my head on his arm. His eyes are flinty gray and guarded.
I gaze at his beautiful face. He’s giving nothing away, but he keeps his eyes on mine, hardly blinking. Oh, he is so breathtakingly good-looking. In such a short time, he’s become so, so dear to me. Reaching up, I caress his cheek and run the tips of my fingers through his stubble. He closes his eyes and exhales slightly.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper.
He opens his eyes and looks at me puzzled.
“What for?”
“What I said.”
“You didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know.” And his eyes soften with relief. “I am sorry I hurt you.”
I shrug.
“I asked for it.” And now I know. I swallow. Here goes. I need to say my piece. “I don’t think I can be everything you want me to be,” I whisper. His eyes widen slightly, and he blinks, his fearful expression returning.
“You are everything I want you to be.”
“I don’t understand. I’m not obedient, and you can be as sure as hell I’m not going to let you do that to me again. And that’s what you need, you said so.”
He closes his eyes again, and I can see a myriad of emotions cross his face. When he reopens them, his expression is bleak. Oh no.
“You’re right. I should let you go. I am no good for you.”
My scalp prickles as every single hair follicle on my body stands to attention, and the world falls away from me, leaving a wide, yawning abyss for me to fall into. Oh no.
“I don’t want to go,” I whisper. Fuck – this is it. Pay or play. Tears swim in my eyes once more.
“I don’t want you to go either,” he whispers, his voice raw. He reaches up and gently strokes my cheek and wipes away a falling tear with his thumb. “I’ve come alive since I met you.” His thumb traces the contours of my lower lip.
“Me too,” I whisper, “I’ve fallen in love with you, Christian.”
His eyes widen again, but this time, with pure, undiluted fear.
“No,” he breathes as if I’ve knocked the wind out of him.
Oh no.
“You can’t love me, Ana. No… that’s wrong.” He’s horrified.
“Wrong? Why’s it wrong?”
“Well, look at you. I can’t make you happy.” His voice is anguished.
“But you do make me happy.” I frown.
“Not at the moment, not doing what I want to do.”
Holy fuck. This really is it. This is what it boils down to – incompatibility – and all those poor subs come to mind.
“We’ll never get past that, will we?” I whisper, my scalp prickling in fear.
He shakes his head bleakly. I close my eyes. I cannot bear to look at him.
“Well… I’d better go, then,” I murmur, wincing as I sit up.
“No, don’t go.” He sounds panicked.
“There’s no point in me staying.” Suddenly, I feel tired, really dog-tired, and I want to go now. I climb out of bed, and Christian follows.
“I’m going to get dressed. I’d like some privacy,” I say, my voice flat and empty as I leave him standing in the bedroom.
Heading downstairs, I glance at the great room, thinking how only hours before I had rested my head on his shoulder as he played the piano. So much has happened since then. I have had my eyes opened and glimpsed the extent of his depravity, and I now know he’s not capable of love – of giving or receiving love. My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it’s very liberating.
The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy. I shower quickly and methodically, thinking only of each second in front of me. Now squeeze body wash bottle. Put body wash bottle back in rack. Rub cloth on face, on shoulders… on and on, all simple, mechanical actions, requiring simple mechanical thoughts.
I finish my shower – and as I haven’t washed my hair, I can dry myself quickly. I dress in the bathroom, taking my jeans and t-shirt out of my small suitcase. My jeans chafe against my backside, but quite frankly, it’s a pain I welcome as it distracts my mind from what’s happening to my splintering, shattered heart.
I stoop to shut my suitcase, and the bag holding Christian’s gift catches my eye, a modeling kit for a Blahnik L23 glider, something for him to build. Tears threaten. Oh no… happier times, when there was hope of more. I take it out of the case, knowing that I need
to give it to him. Quickly, I rip a small piece of paper from my notebook, hastily scribble a note for him, and leave it on top of the box.
This remind me of a happy time.
Thank you.

I gaze at myself in the mirror. A pale and haunted ghost stares back at me. I scoop my hair into a ponytail and ignore how swollen my eyelids are from the crying. My subconscious nods with approval. Even she knows not to be snarky right now. I cannot believe that my world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed. No, no don’t think about it. Not now, not yet. Taking a deep breath, I pick up my case, and after placing the glider kit and my note on his pillow, I head for the great room.
Christian is on the phone. He’s dressed in black jeans and t-shirt. His feet are bare.
“He said what!” he shouts, making me jump. “Well, he could have told us the fucking truth. What’s his number, I need to call him… Welch, this is a real fuck-up.” He glances up and doesn’t take his dark and brooding eyes off me. “Find her,” he snaps and presses the off switch.
I walk over to the couch and collect my backpack, doing my best to ignore him. I take the Mac out of it and walk back toward the kitchen, placing it carefully on the breakfast bar, along with the BlackBerry and the car key. When I turn to face him, he’s staring at me, stupefied with horror.
“I need the money that Taylor got for my Beetle.” My voice is clear and calm, devoid of emotion… extraordinary.
“Ana, I don’t want those things, they’re yours,” he says in disbelief. “Please, take them.”
“No Christian – I only accepted them under sufferance – and I don’t want them anymore.”
“Ana, be reasonable,” he scolds me, even now.
“I don’t want anything that will remind me of you. I just need the money that Taylor got for my car.” My voice is quite monotone.
He gasps.
“Are you really trying to wound me?”
“No.” I frown staring at him. Of course not… I love you. “I’m not. I’m trying to protect myself,” I whisper. Because you don’t want me the way I want you.
“Please, Ana, take that stuff.”
“Christian, I don’t want to fight – I just need the money.”
He narrows his eyes, but I’m no longer intimidated by him. Well, only a little. I gaze impassively back, not blinking or backing down.
“Will you take a check?” he says acidly.
“Yes. I think you’re good for it.”
He doesn’t smile, he just turns on his heel and stalks into his study. I take a last lingering look around his apartment – at the art on the walls – all abstracts, serene, cool… cold, even. Fitting, I think absently. My eyes stray to the piano. Jeez – if I’d kept my mouth shut, we’d have made love on the piano. No, fucked, we would have fucked on the piano. Well, I would have made love. The thought lies heavy and sad in my mind. He has never made love to me, has he? It’s always been fucking to him.
Christian returns and hands me an envelope.
“Taylor got a good price. It’s a classic car. You can ask him. He’ll take you home.” He nods in the direction over my shoulder. I turn, and Taylor is standing in the doorway, wearing his suit, as impeccable as ever.
“That’s fine, I can get myself home, thank you.”
I turn to stare at Christian, and I see the barely-contained fury in his eyes.
“Are you going to defy me at every turn?”
“Why change a habit of a lifetime?” I give him a small, apologetic shrug.
He closes his eyes in frustration and runs his hand through his hair.
“Please, Ana, let Taylor take you home.”
“I’ll get the car, Miss Steele,” Taylor announces authoritatively. Christian nods at him, and when I glance around, Taylor has gone.
I turn back to face Christian. We are four feet apart. He steps forward, and instinctively I step back. He stops, and the anguish in his expression is palpable, his gray eyes burning.
“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.
“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”
He takes another step forward, and I hold up my hands.
“Don’t, please.” I recoil from him. There’s no way I can tolerate his touch now, it will slay me. “I can’t do this.”
Grabbing my suitcase and my backpack, I head for the foyer. He follows me, keeping a careful distance. He presses the elevator button, and the doors open. I climb in.
“Goodbye, Christian,” I murmur.
“Ana, goodbye,” he says softly, and he looks utterly, utterly broken, a man in agonizing pain, reflecting how I feel inside. I tear my gaze away from him before I change my mind and try to comfort him.
The elevator doors close, and it whisks me down to the bowels of the basement and to my own personal hell.
Taylor holds the door open for me, and I climb into the back of the car. I avoid eye contact. Embarrassment and shame washes over me. I’m a complete failure. I had hoped to drag
my Fifty Shades into the light, but it’s proved a task beyond my meager abilities. Desperately, I try to keep my emotions banked and at bay. As we head out onto 4th Avenue, I stare blankly out of the window, and the enormity of what I’ve done slowly washes over me. Shit – I’ve left him. The only man I’ve ever loved. The only man I’ve ever slept with. I gasp, and the levees burst. Tears course unbidden and unwelcome down my cheeks, and I wipe them away hurriedly with my fingers, scrambling in my bag for my sunglasses. As we pause at some traffic lights, Taylor holds out a linen handkerchief for me. He says nothing and doesn’t look in my direction, and I take it with gratitude.
“Thank you,” I mutter, and this small discreet act of kindness is my undoing. I sit back in the luxurious leather seats and weep.
The apartment is achingly empty and unfamiliar. I have not lived here long enough for it to feel like home. I head straight to my room, and there, hanging limply at the end of my bed, is a very sad, deflated helicopter balloon. Charlie Tango, looking and feeling exactly like me. I grab it angrily off my bedrail, snapping the tie, and hug it to me. Oh – what have I done?
I fall onto my bed, shoes and all, and howl. The pain is indescribable… physical, mental… metaphysical… it is everywhere, seeping into the marrow of my bones. Grief. This is grief – and I’ve brought it on myself. Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes from my inner goddess, her lip curled in a snarl… the physical pain from the bite of a belt is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation. I curl up, desperately clutching the flat foil balloon and Taylor’s handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.
End of Part 1

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 25 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 25


My mother hugs me tightly.
“Follow your heart, darling, and please, please – try not to over-think things. Relax and enjoy yourself. You are so young, sweetheart. You have so much of life to experience yet, just let it happen. You deserve the best of everything.” Her heartfelt words are comforting whispered in my ear. She kisses my hair.
“Oh, Mom.” Hot, unwelcome tears prick my eyes as I cling to her.
“Darling, you know what they say. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”
I give her a lopsided, bittersweet smile.
“I think I’ve kissed a prince, Mom. I hope he doesn’t turn into a frog.”
She gives me her most endearing-motherly-absolute-unconditional-love smile, and I marvel at the love I feel for this woman as we hug again.
“Ana – they’re calling your flight,” Bob’s voice is anxious.
“Will you visit, Mom?”
“Of course darling – soon. Love you.”
“Me too.”
Her eyes are red with unshed tears as she releases me. I hate leaving her. I hug Bob, and turning, head to the gate – I do not have time for the first class lounge today. I will myself not to glance back. But I do… and Bob is holding my mom, and tears are streaming
down her face. I can no longer hold mine back. I put my head down and proceed to the gate, keeping my eyes on the shiny, white floor, blurred through my watery tears.
Once on board, in the luxury of first class, I curl up in my seat and try to compose myself. It is always painful to wrench myself away from Mom… she is scatty, disorganized, but newly insightful, and she loves me. Unconditional love – what every child deserves from its parents. I frown at my wayward thoughts, and pulling out my BlackBerry, stare at it despondently.
What does Christian know of love? Seems he didn’t get the unconditional love he was entitled to during his very early years. My heart twists, and my mother’s words waft like a zephyr through my mind: Yes, Ana. Hell – what do you need? – a neon sign flashing on his forehead? She thinks Christian loves me, but then she’s my mother, of course she’d think that. She thinks I deserve the best of everything. I frown. It’s true, and in a moment of startling clarity, I see it. It’s very simple: I want his love. I need Christian Grey to love me. This is why I am so reticent about our relationship – because on some basic, fundamental level, I recognize within me a deep-seated compulsion to be loved and cherished.
And because of his fifty shades – I am holding myself back. The BDSM is a distraction from the real issue. The sex is amazing, he’s wealthy, he’s beautiful, but this is all meaningless without his love, and the real heart-fail is that I don’t know if he’s capable of love. He doesn’t even love himself. I recall his self-loathing, her love being the only form he found – acceptable. Punished – whipped, beaten, whatever their relationship entailed – he feels undeserving of love. Why does he feel like that? How can he feel like that? His words haunt me: ‘It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.’
I close my eyes, imagining his pain, and I can’t begin to comprehend it. I shudder as I remember that I may have divulged too much. What have I confessed to Christian in my sleep? What secrets have I revealed?
I stare at the BlackBerry in the vague hope that it will give me some answers. Rather unsurprisingly, it is not very forthcoming. As we haven’t taken off yet, I decide to email my Fifty Shades.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Homeward Bound
Date: June 3 2011 12:53 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
I am once again ensconced in first class, for which I thank you. I am counting the minutes until I see you this evening, and perhaps torturing the truth out of you about my nocturnal admissions.
Your Ana x
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Homeward Bound
Date: June 3 2011 09:58
To: Anastasia Steele
Anastasia, I look forward to seeing you.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
His response makes me frown. It sounds clipped and formal, not his usual witty, pithy style.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Homeward Bound
Date: June 3 2011 13:01 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dearest Mr. Grey
I hope everything is okay re ‘the situation.’ The tone of your email is worrying.
Ana x
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Homeward Bound
Date: June 3 2011 10:04
To: Anastasia Steele
The situation could be better. Have you taken off yet? If so you should not be emailing. You are putting yourself at risk, in direct contravention of the rule regarding your personal safety. I meant what I said about punishments.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Crap. Okay. Jeez. What is eating him? Perhaps ‘the situation’? Maybe Taylor’s gone AWOL, maybe he’s dropped a few million on the stock market – whatever the reason.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Over-Reaction
Date: June 3 2011 13:06 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grumpy
The aircraft doors are still open. We are delayed but only by ten minutes. My welfare and that of the passengers around me is vouchsafed. You may stow your twitchy palm
for now.
Miss Steele
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Apologies – Twitchy Palm Stowed
Date: June 3 2011 10:08
To: Anastasia Steele
I miss you and your smart mouth Miss Steele.
I want you safely home.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Apology Accepted
Date: June 3 2011 13:10 EST
To: Christian Grey
They are shutting the doors. You won’t hear another peep from me, especially given your deafness.
Ana x
I switch off the BlackBerry, unable to shake my anxiety. Something is up with Christian. Perhaps ‘the situation’ is out of hand. I sit back, glancing up at the locker where my bags are stowed. I managed this morning, with my mother’s help, to buy Christian a small gift to say thank you for first class and for the gliding. I smile at the memory of the soaring – that was something else. I don’t know yet if I’ll give my silly gift to him. He might think it’s childish – and if he’s in a strange mood, maybe not. I am both eager to return and apprehensive of what awaits me at my journey’s end. As I mentally flick through all the scenarios that could be ‘the situation’, I become aware that once again the only empty seat is beside me. I shake my head as the thought crosses my mind that Christian might have purchased the adjacent seat so that I couldn’t talk to anyone. I dismiss the idea as ridiculous – no one could be that controlling, that jealous, surely. I close my eyes as the plane taxis towards the runway.
I emerge into the Sea-Tac arrivals terminal eight hours later to find Taylor waiting and holding up a board that reads Miss A Steele. Honestly! But it’s good to see him.
“Hello, Taylor.”
“Miss Steele,” he greets me formally, but I see a hint of smile in his sharp brown eyes. He looks his usual immaculate self – smart charcoal suit, white shirt, and charcoal tie.
“I do know what you look like Taylor, you don’t need a board, and I do wish you’d call me, Ana.”
“Ana. Can I take your bags, please?”
“No, I can manage. Thank you.”
His lips tighten perceptibly.
“But, if you’d be more comfortable taking them,” I stammer.
“Thank you.” He grabs my backpack and my newly acquired wheelie case for the clothes my mother has bought me. “This way, ma’am.”
I sigh. He’s so polite. I remember, though I would like to erase it from my memory, that this man has bought me underwear. In fact – and the thought unsettles me – he’s the only man who’s ever bought me underwear. Even Ray’s never had to endure that hardship. We walk in silence to the black Audi SUV outside in the airport parking lot, and he holds the door open for me. I clamber in, wondering if wearing such a short skirt for the return to Seattle was a good idea. It was cool and welcome in Georgia. Here I feel exposed. Once Taylor has stowed my bags in the trunk, we set off for Escala.
The journey is slow, caught up in rush hour traffic. Taylor keeps his eyes on the road ahead. Taciturn does not begin to describe him.
I can bear the silence no longer.
“How’s Christian, Taylor?”
“Mr. Grey is preoccupied, Miss Steele.”
Oh, this must be ‘the situation.’ I am mining a seam of gold.
“Yes, ma’am.”
I frown at Taylor, and he glances at me in the rear-view mirror, our eyes meet. He’s saying no more. Jeez, he can be as tightlipped as the control freak himself.
“Is he okay?”
“I believe so, ma’am.”
“Are you more comfortable calling me, Miss Steele?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Oh, okay.”
Well, that curtails our conversation, and we continue in silence. I begin to think that Taylor’s recent slip, when he told me that Christian had been hell on wheels, was an anomaly. Perhaps he’s embarrassed about it, worried that he’s been disloyal. The silence is suffocating.
“Could you put some music on please?”
“Certainly, ma’am. What would you like to hear?”
“Something soothing.”
I see a smile play on Taylor’s lips as our eyes meet briefly again in the mirror.
“Yes, ma’am.”
He pushes a few buttons on the steering wheel, and the gentle strains of Pachelbel’s canon fills the space between us. Oh yes… this is what I need.
“Thank you.” I sit back as we drive slowly but steadily along the I-5 into Seattle.
Twenty-five minutes, later he drops me outside the impressive façade that is the entrance to Escala.
“In you go, ma’am,” he says, holding the door open for me. “I’ll bring up your luggage is.”H expression is soft, warm, avuncular even.
Jeez… Uncle Taylor, what a thought.
“Thank you for meeting me.”
“It’s a pleasure, Miss Steele.” He smiles, and I head into the building. The doorman nods and waves.
As I ride up to the thirtieth floor, a thousand butterflies stretch their wings and flutter erratically in my stomach. Why am I so nervous? And I know it’s because I have no idea what kind of mood Christian’s going to be in when I arrive. My inner goddess is hopeful for one type of mood, my subconscious, like me, is fraught with nerves.
The elevator doors open, and I’m in the foyer. It is so strange not to be met by Taylor. Of course, he’s parking the car. In the great room, Christian is on his BlackBerry talking quietly as he stares out of the glass doors at the early evening Seattle skyline. He’s wearing a gray suit with the jacket undone, and he’s running his hand through his hair, he’s. H agitated, tense even. Oh no – what’s wrong? Agitated or not, he’s still beyond beautiful. How can he look so… arresting? It’s such a pleasure to stand and drink in the sheer sight of him.
“No trace… Okay… Yes.” He turns and sees me, and his whole demeanor changes. From tension to relief to something else: a look that calls directly to my inner goddess, a look of sensual carnality, gray eyes blazing.
My mouth goes dry and desire blooms in my body… whoa.
“Keep me informed,” he snaps and shuts off his phone as he strides purposefully toward me. I stand paralyzed as he closes the distance between us, devouring me with his eyes. Holy shit… something’s amiss – the strain in his jaw, the anxiety around his eyes. He shrugs out of his jacket, undoes his dark tie, and slings them both on to the couch en route to me. Then his arms are wrapped around me, and he’s pulling me to him, hard, fast, gripping my ponytail to tilt my head up, kissing me like his life depends on it. What the hell? He drags the hair tie painfully out of my hair, but I don’t care. There’s a desperate, primal quality to his kiss. He needs me, for whatever reason, at this point in time, and I have never felt so desired and coveted. It’s dark and sensual and alarming all at the same time. I kiss him back with equal fervor, my fingers twisting and fisting in his hair. Our tongues entwined, our passion and ardor erupting between us. He tastes divine, hot, sexy, and his scent – all body wash and Christian is so arousing. He drags his mouth away from mine, and he’s staring down at me, gripped by some unnamed emotion.
“What’s wrong?” I breathe.
“I’m so glad you’re back. Shower with me – now.”
I can’t decide if it’s a request or a command.
“Yes,” I whisper, and he grabs my hand, leading me out of the big room into his bedroom to his bathroom.
Once there, he releases me and sets the water running in the far too spacious shower. Turning slowly, he gazes at me, eyes hooded.
“I like your skirt. It’s very short,” he says, his voice low. “You have great legs.”
He steps out of his shoes and reaches down to take each of his socks off, never taking his eyes off me. I am rendered speechless by the look of hunger in his eyes. Wow… to be this wanted by this Greek god. I mirror his actions and step out of my black flats. Suddenly, he reaches for me, backing me up against the wall. Kissing me, my face, my throat, my lips… running his hands into my hair. I feel the cool, smooth tiled wall at my back as he pushes himself against me so that I’m flattened between his heat and the chill of the ceramic. Tentatively, I place my arms on his upper arms, and he groans as I squeeze tightly.
“I want you now. Here… fast, hard,” he breathes, and his hands are on my thighs, pushing up my skirt. “Are you still bleeding?”
“No.” I flush.
His thumbs hook over my white cotton panties, and abruptly he drops to his knees as he tugs them off. My skirt is now rucked up so that I’m naked from the waist down and panting, wanting. He grabs my hips, pushing me against the wall again, and kisses me at the apex of my thighs. Grabbing my upper thighs, he forces my legs apart. I groan loudly, feeling his tongue circling my clitoris. Oh my. Tipping my head back involuntarily, I moan as my fingers find their way into this hair.
His tongue is relentless, strong and insistent, laving me – swirling round and round, again and again – non-stop. It’s exquisite, the intensity of feeling – it’s almost painful. My body starts to quicken, and he releases me. What? No! My breathing is ragged as I pant, gazing at him with delicious anticipation. He grabs my face with both hands, holding me firmly, and he kisses me hard, thrusting his tongue into my mouth so I can taste my arousal. Unzipping his fly, he frees himself, grabs the backs of my thighs, and lifts me.
“Wrap your legs around me, baby,” he commands, his voice urgent, strained.
I do as I’m told and wrap my arms around his neck, and he moves quickly and sharply, filling me. Ah! He gasps, and I groan. Holding my behind, his fingers digging into my soft flesh, he begins to move, slowly at first – a steady even tempo… but as his control unravels, he speeds up… faster, and faster. Ahhh! I tip my head back and concentrate on the invading, punishing, heavenly sensation… pushing me, pushing me… onward, higher, up… and when I can take no more, I explode around him, spiraling into an intense, all-consuming orgasm. He lets go with a deep growl, and he buries his head in my neck as he buries himself inside me, groaning loudly and incoherently as he finds his release.
His breathing is erratic, but he kisses me tenderly, not moving, still inside me, and I blink, unseeing into his eyes. As he comes into focus, he gently pulls out of me, holding me steady while I place my feet on the floor. The bathroom is now cloudy with steam… and hot. I feel overdressed.
“You seem pleased to see me,” I murmur with a shy smile.
His lips quirk up.
“Yes, Miss Steele, I think my pleasure is pretty self-evident. Come – let me get you in the shower.”
He undoes the next three buttons of his shirt, removes the cufflinks, tugs it over his head, and discards it on the floor. Removing his suit pants and boxer briefs, he kicks them
to one side. He begins to undo the buttons on my blouse while I watch him, yearning to reach out and stroke his chest, but I contain myself.
“How was your journey?” he asks mildly. He seems so much calmer now, his apprehension gone, dissolved by sexual congress.
“Fine, thank you,” I murmur, still breathless. “Thanks once again for first class. It really is a much nicer way to travel.” I smile shyly at him. “I have some news,” I add nervously.
“Oh?” he looks down at me as he undoes the last button, slips my blouse down my arms, and throws it on top of his discarded clothes.
“I have a job.”
He stills, then smiles at me, his eyes warm and soft.
“Congratulations, Miss Steele. Now will you tell me where?” he teases.
“You don’t know?”
He shakes his head, frowning slightly.
“Why would I know?”
“With your stalking capabilities, I thought you might have… ” I trail off as his face falls.
“Anastasia, I wouldn’t dream of interfering in your career, unless you ask me to, of course.” He looks wounded.
“So you have no idea which company?”
“No. I know there are four publishing companies in Seattle – so I am assuming it’s one of them.”
“Oh, the small one, good. Well done.” He leans forward and kisses my forehead. “Clever girl. When do you start?”
“That soon, eh? I’d better take advantage of you while I still can. Turn round.”
I am thrown by his casual command, but do as I’m bid, and he undoes my bra and unzips my skirt. He pushes my skirt down, cupping my behind as he does, and kissing my shoulder. He leans against, me and his nose nuzzles my hair, inhaling deeply. He squeezes my buttocks.
“You intoxicate me, Miss Steele, and you calm me. Such a heady combination.” He kisses my hair. Grabbing my hand, he tugs me into the shower.
“Ow,” I squeal. The water is practically scalding. Christian grins down at me as the water cascades over him.
“It’s only a little hot water.”
And actually he’s right. It feels heavenly, washing off the sticky Georgia morning and the stickiness from our lovemaking.
“Turn round,” he orders, and I comply, turning to face the wall. “I want to wash you,” he murmurs and reaches for the body wash. He squirts a little into his hand.
“I have something else to tell you,” I murmur as his hands start on my shoulders.
“Oh, yes?” he asks mildly.
I steel myself with a deep breath.
“My friend José’s photography show is opening Thursday in Portland.”
He stills, his hands hovering over my breasts. I have emphasized the word ‘friend.’
“Yes, what about it?” he asks sternly.
“I said I would go. Do you want to come with me?”
After what feels like a monumental amount of time, he slowly starts washing me again.
“What time?”
“The opening is at 7:30 p.m.”
He kisses my ear.
Inside my subconscious relaxes and then collapses, slumped into an old battered armchair.
“Were you nervous about asking me?”
“Yes. How can you tell?”
“Anastasia, your whole body’s just relaxed,” he says dryly.
“Well, you just seem to be um… on the jealous side.”
“Yes, I am,” he says darkly. “And you’d do well to remember that. But thank you for asking. We’ll take Charlie Tango.”
Oh, the helicopter of course, silly me. More flying… cool! I grin.
“Can I wash you?” I ask.
“I don’t think so,” he murmurs, and he kisses me gently on my neck to take the sting out of his refusal. I pout at the wall as he caresses my back with soap.
“Will you ever let me touch you?” I ask boldly.
He stills again, his hand on my behind.
“Put your hands on the wall Anastasia. I’m going to take you again,” he murmurs in my ear as he grabs my hips, and I know that the discussion is over.
Later we are seated at the breakfast bar, dressed in bathrobes, having consumed Mrs. Jones’s rather excellent pasta alle vongole.
“More wine?” Christian asks, gray eyes glowing.
“A small glass, please.” The Sancerre is crisp and delicious. Christian pours one for me and one for himself.
“How’s the um… situation that bought you to Seattle?” I ask tentatively.
He frowns.
“Out of hand,” he murmurs bitterly. “But nothing for you to worry about, Anastasia. I have plans for you this evening.”
“Yes. I want you ready and waiting in my playroom in fifteen minutes.” He stands and gazes down at me.
“You can get ready in your room. Incidentally, the walk-in closet is now full of clothes for you. I don’t want any arguments about them.” He narrows his eyes, daring me to say something. When I don’t, he stalks off to his study.
Me! Argue? With you, Fifty Shades? It’s more than my backside’s worth. I sit on the bar stool, momentarily stupefied, trying to assimilate this morsel of information. He’s
bought me clothes. I roll my eyes in an exaggerated fashion knowing full well he can’t see me. Car, phone, computer… clothes, it’ll be a damn condo next, and then I really will be his mistress.
Ho! My subconscious has her snarky face on. I ignore her and make my way upstairs toward my room so, it is still mine… why? I thought he’d agreed to let me sleep with him. I suppose he’s not used to sharing his personal space, but then, neither am I. I console myself with the thought that at least I have somewhere to escape from him.
Examining the door, I find that it has a lock but no key. I wonder briefly if Mrs. Jones has a spare. I’ll ask her. I open the closet door and close it again quickly. Holy Crap – he’s spent a fortune. It resembles Kate’s – so many clothes hanging neatly on the rail. Deep down, I know that they’ll all fit. But I have no time to think about that – I have to get kneeling in the Red Room of… Pain… or Pleasure – hopefully this evening.
Kneeling by the door, I am naked except for my panties. My heart is in my mouth. Jeez, I thought after the bathroom he would have had enough. The man is insatiable, or maybe all men are like him. I have no idea, no one to compare him too. Closing my eyes, I try to calm myself down, to connect with my inner sub. She’s there somewhere, hiding behind my inner goddess.
Anticipation runs bubbling like soda through my veins. What will he do? I take a deep steadying breath, but I cannot deny it, I’m excited, aroused, wet already. This is so… I want to think wrong, but somehow it’s not. It’s right for Christian. It’s what he wants – and after the last few days… after all he’s done, I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs.
The memory of his look when I came in this evening, the longing in his face, his determined stride toward me like I was an oasis in the desert. I’d do almost anything to see that look again. I press my thighs together at the delicious memory, and it reminds me that I need to spread my knees. I shuffle them apart. How long will he make me wait? The wait is crippling me, crippling me with a dark and tantalizing desire. I glance quickly around the subtly lit room; the cross, the table, the couch, the bench… that bed. It looms so large, and it’s made up with red satin sheets. Which piece of apparatus will he use?
The door opens and Christian breezes in, ignoring me completely. I glance down quickly, staring at my hands, positioned with care on my spread thighs. Placing something on the large chest beside the door, he strolls casually toward the bed. I indulge myself in a quick glimpse at him, and my heart almost lurches to a stop. He’s naked except for those soft ripped jeans, top button casually undone. Jeez, he looks so freaking hot. My subconscious is frantically fanning herself, and my inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm. She’s so ready. I lick my lips instinctively. My blood pounds through my body, thick and heavy with salacious hunger. What is he going to do to me?
Turning, he nonchalantly walks back to the chest of drawers. Opening one, he begins to remove items and place them on the top. My curiosity burns, blazes even, but I resist the overwhelming temptation to sneak a quick peek. When he finishes what he’s doing,
he comes to stand in front of me. I can see his naked feet, and I want to kiss every inch of them… run my tongue over his instep, suck each of his toes. Holy shit.
“You look lovely,” he breathes.
I keep my head down, conscious that he’s staring at me while I am practically naked. I feel the flush as it slowly spreads over my face. He bends down and cups my chin, forcing my face up to meet his gaze.
“You are one beautiful woman, Anastasia. And you’re all mine,” he murmurs. “Stand up.” His command is soft full of sensual promise.
Shakily, I get to my feet.
“Look at me,” he breathes, and I stare up into his smoldering gray gaze. It is his Dom gaze – cold, hard, and sexy as hell, seven shades of sin in one enticing look. My mouth dries, and I know I will do anything he asks. An almost cruel smile plays across his lips.
“We don’t have a signed contract, Anastasia. But we’ve discussed limits. And I want to re-iterate we have safe words, okay?”
Holy fuck… what has he got planned that I need safe words?
“What are they?” he asks authoritatively.
I frown slightly at his question, and his face hardens perceptibly.
“What are the safe words, Anastasia?” he says slowly and deliberately.
“Yellow,” I mumble.
“And?” he prompts, his mouth setting in a hard line.
“Red,” I breathe.
“Remember those.”
And I can’t help it… I raise my eyebrow at him and am about to remind him of my GPA, but the sudden frosty glint in his icy gray eyes stops me in my tracks.
“Don’t start with your smart mouth in here, Miss Steele. Or I will fuck it with you on your knees. Do you understand?”
I swallow instinctively. Okay. I blink rapidly, chastened. Actually, it’s his tone of voice, rather than the threat, that intimidates me.
“Yes, Sir,” I mumble hastily.
“Good girl,” he pauses as he stares at me. “My intention is not that you should safe-word because you’re in pain. What I intend to do to you will be intense. Very intense, and you have to guide me. Do you understand?”
Not really. Intense? Wow.
“This is about touch, Anastasia. You will not be able to see me or hear me. But you’ll be able to feel me.”
I frown – not hear him? How is that going to work? He turns, and I hadn’t noticed that above the chest is a sleek, flat, matt-black box. As he waves his hand in front, the box splits in half: two doors slide open revealing a CD player and a host of buttons. Christian presses several of these buttons in sequence. Nothing happens, but he seems satisfied. I am mystified. When he turns to face me again, he wears his small I-have-a-secret smile.
“I am going to tie you to that bed, Anastasia. But I’m going to blindfold you first and,” he reveals his iPod in his hand, “you will not be able to hear me. All you will hear is the music I am going to play for you.”
Okay. A musical interlude, not what I was expecting. Does he ever do what I expect? Jeez, I hope it’s not rap.
“Come.” Taking my hand, he leads me over to the antique four-poster bed. There are shackles attached at each corner, fine metal chains with leather cuffs, glinting against the red satin.
Oh boy, I think my heart is going to leave my chest, and I’m melting from the inside out, desire coursing through me. Could I be any more excited?
“Stand here.”
I am facing the bed. He leans down and whispers in my ear.
“Wait here, keep your eyes on the bed. Picture yourself lying here bound and totally at my mercy.”
Oh my.
He moves away for a moment, and I can hear him near the door fetching something. All my senses are hyper alert, my hearing more acute. He’s picked up something from the rack of whips and paddles by the door. Holy cow. What is he going to do?
I feel him behind me. He takes my hair, pulls it into a ponytail behind me, and starts to braid it.
“While I like your pigtails, Anastasia, I am too impatient to be at you right now. So one will have to do.” His voice is low, soft.
His deft fingers skim my back occasionally as they work down my hair, and each casual touch is like a sweet, electric shock against my skin. He fastens the end with a hair tie, then gently tugs the braid so that I’m forced to step back flush against him. He pulls again to the side so that I angle my head, giving him easier access to my neck. Leaning down, he nuzzles my neck. Tracing his teeth and tongue from the base of my ear to my shoulder. He hums softly as he does, and the sound resonates through me. Right down… right down there, inside me. Unbidden, I groan quietly.
“Hush now,” he breathes against my skin. He holds up his hands in front of me, his arms touching mine. In his right hand is a flogger. I remember the name from my first introduction to this room.
“Touch it,” he whispers, and he sounds like the devil himself. My body flames in response. Tentatively, I reach out and brush the long strands. It has many long fronds, all soft suede with small beads at the end.
“I will use this. It will not hurt, but it will bring your blood to the surface of your skin and make you very sensitive.”
Oh, he says it won’t hurt.
“What are the safe words, Anastasia?”
“Um… yellow and red, Sir,” I whisper.
“Good girl. Remember, most of your fear is in your mind.”
He drops the flogger on the bed, and his hands move to my waist.
“You won’t be needing these,” he murmurs and hooks his fingers into my panties and sweeps them down my legs. I step unsteadily out of them, supporting myself on the ornate post of the bed.
“Stand still,” he orders, and he kisses my behind and then gently nips me twice, making me tense. “Now lie down. Face up,” he adds as he smacks me hard on the behind, making me jump.
Hastily, I crawl onto the bed’s hard, unyielding mattress and lie down, looking up at him. The satin of the sheet beneath me is soft and cool against my skin. His gaze is impassive, except for his eyes which glow with a barely leashed excitement.
“Hands above your head,” he orders, and I do as I’m bid.
Jeez, my body hungers for him. I want him already.
He turns, and out of the corner of my eye, I watch him saunter back over to the chest of drawers, returning with the iPod and what looks like an eye mask, similar to the one I used on my flight to Atlanta. The thought makes me want to smile, but I can’t quite make my lips cooperate. I am too consumed with anticipation. I just know my face is completely immobile, my eyes huge, as I gaze at him.
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he shows me the iPod. It has a strange antenna device as well headphones. How odd. I frown as I try to figure this out.
“This transmits what’s playing on the iPod to the system in the room.”, Christian answers my unspoken query as he taps the small antenna. “I can hear what you’re hearing, and I have a remote control unit for it.” He smirks his private-joke smile and holds up a small, flat device that looks like a very hip calculator. He leans across me, inserting the ear buds gently into my ears, and puts the iPod down somewhere on the bed above my head.
“Lift your head,” he commands, and I do so immediately.
Slowly, he slides the mask on, pulling the elastic over the back of my head, and I’m blind. The elastic on the mask holds the ear buds in place. I can still hear him, though the sound is muffled as he rises from the bed. I’m deafened by my own breathing – it’s shallow and erratic, reflecting my excitement. Christian takes my left arm, stretches it gently to the left-hand corner, and attaches the leather cuff around my wrist. His long fingers stroke the length of my arm once he’s finished. Oh! His touch elicits a delicious, tickly shiver. I hear him move slowly round to the other side, takes my right arm and cuffs it. Again, his long fingers linger along my arm. Oh my… I am fit to burst already. Why is this so erotic?
He moves to the bottom of the bed and grabs both of my ankles.
“Lift your head again,” he orders.
I comply, and he drags me down the bed so that my arms are stretched out and almost straining at the cuffs. Holy cow, I cannot move my arms. A frisson of trepidation mixed with tantalizing exhilaration sweeps through my body, making me wetter. I groan. Parting my legs, he cuffs first my right ankle and then my left so I am staked out, spread-eagled, and totally vulnerable to him. It’s so unnerving that I can’t see him. I listen hard… what’s he doing? And I hear nothing, just my breathing and the pounding thud of my heart as blood pulses furiously against my eardrums.
Abruptly, the soft silent hiss and pop of the iPod springs into life. From inside my head, a lone angelic voice sings unaccompanied a long sweet note, and it’s joined almost immediately by another voice, and then more voices – Holy cow, a celestial choir – singing acapella in my head, an ancient, ancient hymnal. What in heaven’s name is this? I have never heard anything like it. Something almost unbearably soft brushes against my neck, running languidly down my throat, slowly across my chest, over my breasts, caressing
me… pulling at my nipples, it’s so soft, skimming underneath. It’s so unexpected. It’s fur! A fur glove?
Christian trails his hand, unhurried and deliberate, down to my belly, circling my navel, then carefully from hip to hip, and I’m trying to anticipate where he’s going next… but the music… it’s in my head… transporting me… the fur across the line of my pubic hair… between my legs, along my thighs, down one leg… up the other… it almost tickles… but not quite… more voices join… the heavenly choir all singing different parts, their voices blending blissfully and sweetly together in a melodic harmony that is beyond anything I’ve ever heard. I catch one word — ‘deus’– and I realize they are singing in Latin. And still, the fur is moving down my arms and round my waist… back up across my breasts. My nipples harden beneath the soft touch… and I’m panting… wondering where his hand will go next. Suddenly, the fur is gone, and I can feel the fronds of the flogger flowing over my skin, following the same path as the fur, and it’s so hard to concentrate with the music in my head – it sounds like a hundred voices singing, weaving an ethereal tapestry of fine, silken gold and silver through my head, mixed with the feel of the soft suede against my skin… trailing over me… oh my… abruptly, it disappears. Then suddenly, sharply, it bites down on my belly.
“Aagghh!” I cry out. It takes me by surprise, and it doesn’t exactly hurt, but tingles all over, and he hits me again. Harder.
I want to move, to writhe… to escape, or to welcome, each blow… I don’t know – it’s so overwhelming… I can’t pull my arms… my legs are stuck… I am held very firmly in place… and again he strikes across my breasts – I cry out. And it’s a sweet agony – bearable, just… pleasant – no, not immediately, but as my skin sings with each blow in perfect counterpoint to the music in my head, I am dragged into a dark, dark part of my psyche that surrenders to this most erotic sensation. Yes – I get this. He hits me across my hip. Then,t moves in swift blows over my pubic hair, on my thighs, and down my inner thighs… and back up my body… across my hips. He keeps going as the music reaches a climax, and then suddenly – the music stops. And so does he. Then the singing starts again… building and building, and he rains down blows on me… and I groan and writhe. Once again, it ceases and all is quiet… except my wild breathing… and wild yearning. For… oh… what’s happening? What’s he going to do now? The excitement is almost unbearable. I’ve entered a very dark, carnal place.
The bed moves and shifts as I feel him clamber over me, and the song starts again. He’s got it on repeat… this time it’s his nose and lips that take the place of the fur… running down my neck and throat, kissing, sucking… trailing down to my breasts… Ah! Taunting each of my nipples in turn… his tongue swirling round one while his fingers relentlessly tease the other… I groan, loudly I think, though I can’t hear. I am lost. Lost in him… lost in the astral, seraphic voices… lost to all the sensations I cannot escape… I am completely at the mercy of his expert touch.
He moves down to my belly – his tongue circling my navel – following the path of the flogger and the fur… I moan. He’s kissing and sucking and nibbling… moving south… and then his tongue is there. At, a the junction of my thighs. I throw my head back and cry out as I almost detonate into orgasm… I’m on the brink, and he stops.
No! The bed shifts, and he kneels between my legs. He leans toward the bedpost, and the cuff on my ankle is suddenly gone. I pull my leg to the middle of the bed… resting it against him. He leans over to the opposite post and frees my other leg. His hands travel quickly down both my legs, squeezing and kneading, bringing life back into them. Then, grasping my hips, he lifts me so that my back is no longer on the bed. I am arched, resting on my shoulders. What? He’s kneeling up between my legs… and in one swift, slamming move he’s inside me… oh fuck… and I cry out again. The quiver of my impending orgasm begins, and he stills. The quiver dies… oh no… he’s going to torture me further.
“Please!” I wail.
He grips me harder… in warning? I don’t know, his fingers digging into the flesh of my behind as I lay panting… so I purposefully still. Very slowly, he starts to move again… out and then in… agonizingly slowly. Holy fuck – Please! I’m screaming inside… And as the number of voices in the choral piece increases… so does his pace, infinitesimally, he’s so controlled… so in time with the music. And I can no longer bear it.
“Please,” I beg, and in one swift move, he lowers me back onto the bed, and he’s lying on top of me, his hands on the bed beside my breasts as he supports his weight, and he thrusts into me,.as A the music reaches its climax, I fall… free fall… into the most intense, agonizing orgasm I have ever had, and Christian follows me… thrusting hard into me, three more times… finally stilling, then collapsing on top of me.
As my consciousness returns from wherever it’s been, Christian pulls out of me. The music has stopped, and I can feel him stretch across my body as he undoes the cuff on my right wrist. I groan as my hand is freed. He quickly frees my other hand, gently pulls the mask from my eyes, and removes the ear buds. I blink in the dim soft light and stare up into his intense gray gaze.
“Hi,” he murmurs.
“Hi, yourself,” I breathe shyly back at him. His lips quirk up into a smile, and he leans down and kisses me softly.
“Well done, you,” he whispers. “Turn over.”
Holy fuck – what’s he going to do now? His eyes soften.
“I’m just going to rub your shoulders.”
“Oh… okay.”
I roll stiffly onto my front. I am so tired. Christian sits astride me and starts to massage my shoulders. I groan loudly – he has such strong, knowing fingers. Leaning down, he kisses my head.
“What was that music?” I mumble almost inarticulately.
“It’s called Spem In Alium, or the Forty Part Motet, by Thomas Tallis.”
“It was… overwhelming.”
“I’ve always wanted to fuck to it.”
“Not another first, Mr. Grey?”
“Indeed, Miss Steele.”
I groan again as his fingers work their magic on my shoulders.
“Well, it’s the first time I’ve fucked to it, too,” I murmur sleepily.
“Hmm… you and I, we’re giving each other many firsts.” His voice is matter-of-fact.
“What did I say to you in my sleep, Ch – err, Sir?”
His hands pause their ministrations for a moment.
“You said lots of things, Anastasia. You talked about cages and strawberries… that you wanted more… and that you missed me.”
Oh, thank heavens for that.
“Is that all?” The relief in my voice is evident.
Christian stops his heavenly massage and shifts so that he’s lying beside me. His head propped up on his elbow. He’s frowning.
“What did you think you’d said?”
Oh crap.
“That I thought you were ugly, conceited, and that you were hopeless in bed.”
He crease on his brow deepens.
“Well, naturally I am all those things, and now you’ve got me really intrigued. What are you hiding from me, Miss Steele?”
I blink at him innocently.
“I’m not hiding anything.”
“Anastasia, you are a hopeless liar.”
“I thought you were going to make me giggle after sex, this isn’t doing it for me.”
His lips quirk up.
“I can’t tell jokes.”
“Mr. Grey! Something you can’t do?” I grin at him, and he grins back.
“No, hopeless joke teller.” He looks so proud of himself that I start to giggle.
“I’m a hopeless joke teller too,”
“That is such a lovely sound,” he murmurs, and he leans forward and kisses me.
“And you are hiding something, Anastasia. I may have to torture it out of you.”

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 24 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 24


Christian stands in a steel-barred cage. Wearing his soft, ripped jeans, his chest and feet are mouthwateringly naked, and he’s staring at me. His private-joke smile etched on his beautiful face and his eyes a molten gray. In his hands he holds a bowl of strawberries. He ambles with athletic grace to the front of the cage, gazing intently at me. Holding up a plump ripe strawberry, he extends his hand through the bars.
“Eat,” he says, his tongue caressing the front of his palate as he enunciates the ‘t’.
I try and move toward him, but I’m tethered, held back by some unseen force around my wrist, holding me. Let me go.
“Come, eat,” he says, smiling his delicious crooked smile.
I pull and pull… let me go! I want to scream and shout, but no sound emerges. I am mute. He stretches a little further, and the strawberry is at my lips.
“Eat, Anastasia.” His mouth forms my name, lingering sensually on each syllable.
I open my mouth and bite, the cage disappears, and my hands are free. I reach up to touch him, graze my fingers through his chest hair.
No. I moan.
“Come on, baby.”
No. I want to touch you.
“Wake up.”
No. Please. My eyes flicker unwillingly open for a split second. I’m in bed and someone is nuzzling my ear.
“Wake up, baby,” he whispers, and the effect of his sweet voice spreads like warm melted caramel through my veins.
It’s Christian. Jeez, it’s still dark, and the images of him from my dream persists, disconcerting and tantalizing in my head.
“Oh… no,” I groan. I want back at his chest, back to my dream. Why is he waking me? It’s the middle of the night, or so it feels. Holy shit. Does he want sex – now?
“Time to get up, baby. I’m going to switch on the sidelight.” His voice is quiet.
“No,” I groan.
“I want to chase the dawn with you,” he says, kissing my face, my eyelids, the tip of my nose, my mouth, and I open my eyes. The sidelight is on. “Good morning, beautiful,” he murmurs.
I groan, and he smiles.
“You are not a morning person,” he murmurs.
Through the haze of light, I squint and see Christian leaning over me, smiling. Amused. Amused at me. Dressed! In black.
“I thought you wanted sex,” I grumble.
“Anastasia, I always want sex with you. It’s heartwarming to know that you feel the same,” he says dryly.
I gaze at him as my eyes adjust to the light, but he still looks amused… thank heavens.
“Of course I do, just not when it’s so late.”
“It’s not late, it’s early. Come on – up you go. We’re going out. I’ll take a rain check on the sex.”
“I was having such a nice dream,” I whine.
“Dream about what?” he asks patiently.
“You.” I blush.
“What was I doing this time?”
“Trying to feed me strawberries.”
His lips twitch with a trace of a smile.
“Dr. Flynn could have a field day with that. Up – get dressed. Don’t bother to shower, we can do that later.”
I sit up, and the sheet pools at my waist, revealing my body. He stands to give me room, his eyes dark.
“What time is it?”
“5:30 in the morning.”
“Feels like 3:00 a.m.”
“We don’t have much time. I let you sleep as long as possible. Come.”
“Can’t I have a shower?”
He sighs.
“If you have a shower, I’ll want one with you, and you and I know what will happen then – the day will just go. Come.”
He’s excited. Like a small boy, he’s iridescent with anticipation and excitement. It makes me smile.
“What are we doing?’
“It’s a surprise. I told you.”
I can’t help but grin up at him.
“Okay.” I clamber off the bed and search for my clothes. Of course they are neatly folded on the chair beside my bed. He’s laid out a pair of his jersey boxer briefs too, Ralph Lauren, no less. I slip them on, and he grins at me. Hmm, another piece of Christian Grey’s underwear – a trophy to add to my collection – along with the car, the BlackBerry, the Mac, his black jacket, and a set of old valuable first editions. I shake my head at his largesse, and I frown as a scene from Tess crosses my mind: the strawberry scene. It evokes my dream. To hell with Dr. Flynn – Freud would have a field day – and then he’d probably expire trying to deal with Fifty Shades.
“I’ll give you some room now that you’re up.” Christian exits toward the living area, and I wander into the bathroom. I have needs to attend to, and I want a quick wash. Seven minutes later, I am in the living area, scrubbed, brushed and dressed in jeans, my camisole, and Christian Grey’s underwear. Christian glances up from the small dining table where he’s eating breakfast. Breakfast! Jeez, at this time.
“Eat,” he says.
Holy Moses… my dream. I gape at him, thinking about his tongue on his palate. Hmm, his expert tongue.
“Anastasia,” he says sternly, pulling me out of my reverie.
It really is too early for me. How to handle this?
“I’ll have some tea. Can I take a croissant for later?”
He eyes me suspiciously, and I smile very sweetly.
“Don’t rain on my parade, Anastasia,” he warns softly.
“I will eat later when my stomach’s woken up. About 7:30 a.m.… okay?”
“Okay.” He peers down at me.
Honestly. I have to concentrate hard on not making a face at him.
“I want to roll my eyes at you.”
“By all means, do, and you will make my day,” he says sternly.
I gaze up at the ceiling.
“Well a spanking would wake me up, I suppose.” I purse my lips in quiet contemplation.
Christian’s mouth drops open.
“On the other hand, I don’t want you to be all hot and bothered, the climate here is warm enough.” I shrug nonchalantly.
Christian closes his mouth and tries very hard to look displeased, but fails hopelessly. I can see the humor lurking in the back of his eyes.
“You are, as ever, challenging, Miss Steele. Drink your tea.”
I notice the Twinings label, and inside, my heart sings. See, he does care, my subconscious mouths at me. I sit and face him, drinking in his beauty. Will I ever get enough of this man?
As we leave the room, Christian throws a sweatshirt at me.
“You’ll need this.”
I look at him, puzzled.
“Trust me.” He grins, leans over and kisses me quickly on the lips, then grabs my hand and we head out.
Outside, in the relative cool of the half-light of pre-dawn, the valet hands Christian a set of keys to a flash sports car with a soft top. I raise an eyebrow at Christian, who smirks back at me.
“You know, sometimes it’s great being me,” he says with a conspiratorial but smug grin that I simply can’t help emulating. He’s so lovable when he’s playful and carefree. He opens my car door with an exaggerated bow, and in I climb. He is in such a good mood.
“Where are we going?”
“You’ll see.” He grins as he slips the car into drive, and we head out on Savannah Parkway. He programs the GPS and presses a switch on the steering wheel and a classical orchestral piece fills the car.
“What’s this?” I ask as the sweet, sweet sound of a hundred violin strings assails us.
“It’s from La Traviata. An opera by Verdi.”
Oh, my… it’s lovely.
“La Traviata? I’ve headr of that. I can’t think where. What does it mean?”
Christian glances at me and smirks.
“Well, literally, the woman led astray. It’s based on Alexander Dumas’s book, La Dame aux Camelias.”
“Ah. I’ve read it.”
“I thought you might.”
“The doomed courtesan.” I squirm uncomfortably in the plush leather seat. Is he trying to tell me something? “Hmm, it’s a depressing story,” I mutter.
“Too depressing? Do you want to choose some music? This is on my iPod.” Christian has that secret smile again.
I can’t see his iPod anywhere. He taps the screen on the console between us, and behold – there is a play list.
“You choose.” His lips twitch up into a smile, and I know it’s a challenge.
Christian Grey’s iPod, this should be interesting. I scroll through the touch screen, and find the perfect song. I press play. I wouldn’t have figured him for a Britney fan. The club-mix, techno beat assaults us both, and Christian turns the volume down. Maybe it’s too early for this: Britney’s at her most sultry.
“Toxic, eh?” Christian grins.
“I don’t know what you mean.” I feign innocence.
He turns the music down a little more, and inside I am hugging myself. My inner goddess is standing on the podium awaiting her gold medal. He turned the music down. Victory!
“I didn’t put that song on my iPod,” he says casually, and puts his foot down so that I am thrown back into my seat as the car accelerates along the freeway.
What? He knows what he’s doing, the bastard. Who did? And I have to listen to Britney going on and on. Who… who?
The song ends and the iPod shuffles to Damien Rice being mournful. Who? Who? I stare out of the window, my stomach churning. Who?
“It was Leila,” he answers my unspoken thoughts. How does he do that?
“An ex, who put the song on my iPod.”
Damien warbles away in the background as I sit stunned. An ex… ex-submissive? An ex–
“One of the fifteen?” I ask.
“What happened to her?”
“We finished.”
Oh jeez. It’s too early for this kind of conversation. But he looks relaxed, happy even, and what’s more, talkative.
“She wanted more.” His voice is low, introspective even, and he leaves the sentence hanging between us, ending it with that powerful little word again.
“And you didn’t?” I ask before I can employ my brain to mouth filter. Shit, do I want to know?
He shakes his head.
“I’ve never wanted more, until I met you.”
I gasp, reeling. Oh my. Isn’t this what I want? He wants more. He wants it, too! My inner goddess has back flipped off the podium and is doing cartwheels around the stadium. It’s not just me.
“What happened to the other fourteen?” I ask.
Jeez he’s talking – take advantage.
“You want a list? Divorced, beheaded, died?”
“You’re not Henry VIII.”
“Okay. In no particular order, I’ve only had long term relationships with four women, apart from Elena.”
“Mrs. Robinson to you.” He half smiles his secret private joke smile.
Elena! Holy Fuck. The evil one has a name and its all-foreign sounding. A vision of a glorious, pale-skinned vamp with raven hair and ruby-red lips comes to mind, and I know that she’s beautiful. I must not dwell. I must not dwell.
“What happened to the four?” I ask to distract myself.
“So inquisitive, so eager for information, Miss Steele,” he scolds playfully.
“Oh, Mr. When Is Your Period Due?”
“Anastasia – a man needs to know these things.”
“Does he?”
“I do.”
“Because I don’t want you to get pregnant.”
“Neither do I! Well, not for a few years yet.”
Christian blinks startled, then visibly relaxes. Okay. Christian doesn’t want children. Now or never? I am reeling from his sudden, unprecedented attack of candor. Perhaps it’s the early morning? Something in the Georgia water? The Georgia air? What else do I want to know? Carpe Diem.
“So the other four, what happened?” I ask.
“One met someone else. The other three wanted – more. I wasn’t in the market for more then.”
“And the others?” I press.
He glances at me briefly and just shakes his head.
“Just didn’t work out.”
Whoa, a bucket-load of information to process. I glance in the side mirror of the car, and I notice the soft swell of pink and aquamarine in the sky behind. Dawn is following us.
“Where are we headed?” I ask, perplexed, gazing out at the I-95. We’re heading south, that’s all I know.
“An airfield.”
“We’re not going back to Seattle are we?” I gasp, alarmed. I haven’t said goodbye to my mom. Jeez, she’s expecting us for dinner.
He laughs.
“No, Anastasia, we’re going to indulge in my second favorite pastime.”
“Second?” I frown at him.
“Yep. I told you my favorite this morning.”
I glance at his glorious profile, frowning, racking my brain.
“Indulging in you, Miss Steele, that’s got to be top of my list. Any way I can get you.”
“Well that’s quite high up on my list of diverting, kinky priorities too.” I mutter, blushing.
“I’m pleased to hear it,” he mutters dryly.
“So, airfield?”
He grins at me.
The term rings a vague bell. He’s mentioned it before.
“We’re going to chase the dawn, Anastasia.” He turns and grins at me as the GPS urges him to turn right into what looks like an industrial complex. He pulls up outside a large white building with a sign reading Brunswick Soaring Association.
Gliding! We’re going gliding?
He switches off the engine.
“You up for this?” he asks.
“You’re flying?”
“Yes, please!” I don’t hesitate. He grins and leans forward and kisses me.
“Another first, Miss Steele,” he says as he climbs out of the car.
First? What sort of first? First time flying a glider… shit! No – he said that he’s done it before. I relax. He walks round and opens my door. The sky has turned to a subtle opal, shimmering and glowing softly behind the sporadic childlike clouds. Dawn is upon us.
Taking my hand, Christian leads me round the building to a large stretch of tarmac where several planes are parked. Waiting beside them is a man with a shaved head and a wild look in his eye, accompanied by Taylor.
Taylor! Does Christian go any where without that man? I beam at him, and he smiles kindly back at me.
“Mr. Grey, this is your tow-pilot, Mr. Mark Benson,” says Taylor. Christian and Benson shake hands and strike up a conversation, which sounds very technical about wind speed, directions, and the like.
“Hello, Taylor,” I murmur shyly.
“Miss Steele.” He nods a greeting at me, and I frown. “Ana,” he corrects himself. “He’s been hell on wheels the last few days. Glad we’re here,” he says conspiratorially.
Oh, this is news – Why? Surely not because of me! Revelation Thursday! Must be something in the Savannah water that makes these men loosen up a bit.
“Anastasia,” Christian summons me. “Come.” He holds out his hand.
“See you later.” I smile at Taylor, and giving me a quick salute, he heads back to the parking lot.
“Mr. Benson, this is my girlfriend Anastasia Steele.”
“Pleased to meet you,” I murmur as we shake hands.
Benson gives me a dazzling smile.
“Likewise,” he says, and I can tell from his accent that he’s British.
As I take Christian’s hand, there’s a mounting excitement in my belly. Wow… gliding! We follow Mark Benson out across the tarmac towards the runway. He and Christian keep up a running conversation. I catch the gist. We will be in a Blanik L-23, which is apparently better than the L-13, although this is open to debate. Benson will be flying a Piper Pawnee. He’s been flying tail draggers for about five years now. It all means nothing to me, but glancing up at Christian, he is so animated, so in his element, it’s a pleasure to watch him.
The plane itself is long, sleek, and white with orange stripes. It has a small cockpit with two seats one in front of the other. It’s attached by a long white cable to a small, conventional single-propeller plane. Benson opens the large, clear Perspex dome that frames the cockpit, allowing us to climb in.
“First we need to strap on your parachute.”
“I’ll do that,” Christian interrupts him and takes the harness off Benson, who smiles amenably at him.
“I’ll fetch some ballast,” Benson says and heads toward the plane.
“You like strapping me into things.” I observe dryly.
“Miss Steele, you have no idea. Here, step into the straps.”
I do as I’m told, placing my arm on his shoulder. Christian stiffens slightly but doesn’t move. Once my feet are in the loops, he pulls the parachute up, and I place my arms through the shoulder straps. Deftly he fastens the harness and tightens all the straps.
“There, you’ll do,” he says mildly, but his eyes are gleaming. “Do you have your hair tie from yesterday?”
I nod.
“You want me to put my hair up?”
I quickly do as I’m asked.
“In you go,” Christian commands. He’s still so bossy. I go to climb into the back.
“No, front. Pilot sits at the back.”
“But won’t you be able to see.”
“I’ll see plenty.” He grins.
I don’t think I have ever seen him so happy, bossy, but happy. I clamber in, settling down into the leather seat. It is surprisingly comfortable. Christian leans over, pulls the harness over my shoulders, reaches between my legs for the lower belt, and slots it into the fastener that rests against my belly. He tightens all the restraining straps.
“Hmm, twice in one morning, I am a lucky man,” he whispers and kisses me quickly. “This won’t take long – twenty, thirty minutes at most. Thermals aren’t great this time of the morning, but it’s so breathtaking up there at this hour. I hope you’re not nervous.”
“Excited.” I beam.
Where did this ridiculous grin come from? Actually, part of me is terrified. My inner goddess – she’s under a blanket behind the sofa.
“Good.” He grins back, stroking my face, then disappears from view.
I hear and feel his movements as he climbs in behind me. Of course he’s strapped me in so tightly I can’t move round to see him… typical! We are very low on the ground. In front of me is a panel of dials and levers and a big stick thing. I leave well alone.
Mark Benson appears with a cheerful grin as he checks my straps and leans in and checks the cockpit floor. I think it’s the ballast.
“Yep, that’s secure. First time?” he asks me.
“You’ll love it.”
“Thanks, Mr. Benson.”
“Call me Mark.” He turns to Christian. “Okay?”
“Yep. Let’s go.”
I am so glad I haven’t eaten anything. I am beyond excited, and I don’t think my stomach would be game for food, excitement, and leaving the ground. Once again, I am putting myself into this beautiful man’s skilled hands. Mark shuts the cockpit lid, strolls over to the plane in front, and climbs in.
The Piper’s single propeller starts, and my nervous stomach relocates itself to my throat. Jeez… I’m really doing this. Mark taxis slowly down the runway, and as the cable takes the strain, we suddenly jolt forward. We’re off. I hear chatter over the radio set behind me. I think it’s Mark talking to the tower – but I can’t make out what he’s saying. As the Piper picks up speed, so do we. It’s very bumpy, and in front of us, the single prop plane is still on the ground. Jeez, will we ever get up? And suddenly, my stomach disappears from my throat and free-falls through my body to the ground – we’re airborne.
“Here we go, baby!” Christian shouts from behind me. And we are in our own bubble, just us two. All I hear is the sound of the wind ripping past and the distant hum of the Piper’s engine.
I’m gripping the edge of my seat with both hands, so tightly my knuckles are white. We head west, inland away from the rising sun, gaining height, crossing over fields and woods and homes and I-95. Oh my. This is amazing, above us only sky. The light is extraordinary, diffuse and warm in hue, and I remember José rambling on about ‘magic hour’, a time of day that photographers adore – this is it… just after dawn, and I’m in it, with Christian.
Abruptly, I’m reminded of José’s show. Hmm. I need to tell Christian. I wonder briefly how he’ll react. But I won’t worry about that, not now – I’m enjoying the ride. My ears pop as we gain height, and the ground slips further and further away. It is so peaceful. I completely get why he likes to be up here. Away from his BlackBerry and all the pressures of his job.
The radio crackles into life, and Mark mentions 3,000 feet. Jeez, that sounds high,. I check the ground, and I can no longer clearly distinguish anything down there.
“Release,” Christian says into the radio, and suddenly the Piper disappears, and the pulling sensation provided by the small plane ceases. We’re floating, floating over Georgia.
Holy fuck – it’s exciting. The plane banks and turns as the wing dips, and we spiral toward the sun. Icarus. This is it. I am flying close to the sun, but he’s with me, leading me. I gasp at the realization. We spiral and spiral and, the view in this morning light is spectacular.
“Hold on tight!” he shouts, and we dip again – only this time he doesn’t stop. suddenly, I am upside down, looking at the ground through the top of the cockpit canopy.
I squeal loudly, my arms automatically lashing out, my hands splayed on the Perspex to stop me falling. I can hear him laughing. Bastard! But his joy is infectious, and I am laughing too as he rights the plane.
“I’m glad I didn’t have breakfast!” I shout at him.
“Yes, in hindsight, it’s good you didn’t, because I’m going to do that again.”
He dips the plane once more until we are upside down. This time, because I’m prepared, I hang on to the harness, but it makes me grin and giggle like a fool. He levels the plane once more.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he calls.
We fly, swooping majestically through the air, listening to the wind and the silence, in the early morning light. Who could ask for more?
“See the joy-stick in front of you?” he shouts again.
I look at the stick that is moving slightly between my legs. Oh no, where’s he going with this?
“Grab hold.”
Oh shit. He’s going to make me fly the plane. No!
“Go on, Anastasia. Grab it,” he urges more vehemently.
Tentatively, I grasp it and feel the pitch and yaw of what I assume are rudders and paddles or whatever keeps this thing in the air.
“Hold tight… keep it steady. See the middle dial in front? Keep the needle dead center.”
My heart is in my mouth. Holy shit. I am flying a glider… I’m soaring.
“Good girl.” Christian sounds delighted.
“I am amazed you let me take control,” I shout.
“You’d be amazed what I’d let you do, Miss Steele. Back to me now.”
I feel the joystick move suddenly, and I let go as we spiral down several feet, my ears starting to pop again. The ground is getting closer, and it feels like we could be hitting it shortly. Jeez, that’s scary.
“BMA, this is BG N Papa 3 Alpha, entering left downwind runway seven to the grass, BMA.” Christian sounds his usual authoritative self. The tower squawks back at him over the radio, but I don’t understand what they say. We sail round again in a wide circle, sinking slowly to the ground. I can see the airport, the landing strips, and we’re flying back over I-95.
“Hang on, baby. This can get bumpy.”
After another circle we dip, and suddenly we are on the ground with a brief thump, racing along the grass – holy shit. My teeth chatter as we bump at an alarming speed along the ground, until we finally come to a stop. The plane sways slightly then dips to the right. I take a deep lungful of air while Christian leans over and opens the cockpit lid, clambering out and stretching.
“How was that?” he asks, and his eyes are a shining, dazzling silver gray. He leans down to unbuckle me.
“That was extraordinary. Thank you,” I whisper.
“Was it more?” he asks, his voice tinged with hope.
“Much more,” I breathe, and he grins.
“Come.” He holds out his hand for me, and I clamber out of the cockpit.
As soon as I’m out, he grabs me and holds me flush against his body. Suddenly his hand is in my hair, tugging it so my head tips back, and his other hand travels down to the base of my spine. He kisses me, long, hard, and passionately, his tongue in my mouth. His breathing is mounting, his ardor… Holy cow – his erection… we’re in a field. But I don’t care. My hands twist in his hair, anchoring him to me. I want him, here, now, on the ground. He breaks away and gazes down at me, his eyes now dark and luminous in the early morning light, full of raw, arrogant sensuality. Wow. He takes my breath away.
“Breakfast,” he whispers, making it sound deliciously erotic.
How can he make bacon and eggs sound like forbidden fruit? It’s an extraordinary skill. He turns, clasping my hand, and we head back toward the car.
“What about the glider?”
“Someone will take care of that?”, he says dismissively. “We’ll eat now.” His tone is unequivocal.
Food! He’s talking food, when really all I want is him.
“Come.” He smiles.
I have never seen him like this, and it’s a joy to behold. I find myself walking beside him, hand in hand, with a stupid, goofy grin plastered on my face. It reminds me of when I was ten and spending the day in Disneyland with Ray. It was a perfect day, and this is sure shaping out to be the same.
Back in the car, as we head back along I-95 towards Savannah, my phone alarm goes off. Oh yes… my pill.
“What’s that?” Christian asks, curious, glancing at me.
I fumble in my purse for the packet.
“Alarm for my pill,” I mutter as my cheeks flush.
His lips quirk up.
“Good, well done. I hate condoms.”
I flush some more. He’s as patronizing as ever.
“I like that you introduced me to Mark as your girlfriend,” I murmur.
“Isn’t that what you are?” He raises an eyebrow.
“Am I? I thought you wanted a submissive.”
“So did I, Anastasia, and I do. But I’ve told you, I want more, too.”
Oh my. He’s coming round, and hope surges through me, leaving me breathless.
“I’m very happy that you want more,” I whisper.
“We aim to please, Miss Steele.” He smirks as we pull into the International House of Pancakes.
“IHOP.” I grin back at him. I don’t believe it. Who would have thought… Christian Grey at IHOP.
It’s 8:30 a.m. but quiet in the restaurant. It smells of sweet batter, fried food, and disinfectant. Hmm… not such an enticing aroma. Christian leads me to a booth.
“I would never have pictured you here,” I say as we slide into a booth.
“My dad used to bring us to one of these whenever my mom went away at a medical conference. It was our secret.” He smiles at me, gray eyes dancing, then picks up a menu, running a hand through his wayward hair as he stares down at it.
Oh, I want to run my hands through that hair. I pick up a menu and examine it. I realize I’m starving.
“I know what I want,” he breathes, his voice low and husky.
I glance up at him, and he’s staring at me in that way that tightens all the muscles in my belly and takes my breath away, his eyes dark and smoldering. Holy shit. I gaze at him, my blood singing in my veins answering his call.
“I want what you want,” I whisper.
He inhales sharply.
“Here?” he asks suggestively, raising an eyebrow at me, smiling wickedly, his teeth trapping the tip of his tongue.
Oh my… sex in IHOP. His expression changes, growing darker.
“Don’t bite your lip,” he orders. “Not here, not now.” His eyes harden momentarily, and for a moment, he looks so deliciously dangerous. “If I can’t have you here, don’t tempt me.”
“Hi, My name’s Leandra, What can I get for you… er… folks… er… today, this mornin… ?” Her voice trails off, stumbling over her words as she gets an eye full of Mr. Beautiful opposite me. She flushes scarlet, and a small ounce of sympathy for her bubbles
unwelcome into my consciousness because he still does that to me. Her presence allows me to escape briefly from his sensual glare.
“Anastasia?” he prompts me, ignoring her, and I don’t think anyone could squeeze as much carnality into my name as he does at that moment.
I swallow, praying that I don’t go the same color as poor Leandra.
“I told you, I want what you want.” I keep my voice soft, low, and he looks at me hungrily. Jeez, my inner goddess swoons. Am I up to this game?
Leandra looks from me to him and back again. She’s practically the same color as her shiny red hair.
“Shall I give you folks another minute to decide?”
“No. We know what we want.” Christian’s mouth twitches with a small, sexy smile.
“We’ll have two portions of the original buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and bacon on the side, two glasses of orange juice, one black coffee with skim milk, and one English breakfast tea, if you have it,” says Christian, not taking his eyes off me.
“Thank you sir. Will that be all?” Leandra whispers, looking anywhere but at the two of us. We both turn to stare at her, and she flushes crimson again and scuttles away.
“You know it’s really not fair.” I glance down at the Formica tabletop, tracing a pattern in it with my index finger, trying to sound nonchalant.
“What’s not fair?”
“How you disarm people. Women. Me.”
“Do I disarm you?”
I snort.
“All the time.”
“It’s just looks, Anastasia,” he says mildly.
“No, Christian, it’s much more than that.”
His brow creases.
“You disarm me totally, Miss Steele. Your innocence. It cuts through all the crap.”
“Is that why you’ve changed your mind?”
“Changed my mind?”
“Yes – about … err… us?”
He strokes his chin thoughtfully with his long, skilled fingers.
“I don’t think I’ve changed my mind per se. We just need to re-define our parameters, re-draw our battle lines, if you will. We can make this work, I’m sure. I want you submissive in my playroom. I will punish you if you digress from the rules. Other than that… well, I think it’s all up for discussion. Those are my requirements, Miss Steele. What say you to that?”
“So I get to sleep with you? In your bed?”
“Is that what you want?”
“I agree then. Besides, I sleep very well when you’re in my bed. I had no idea.” His brow creases as his voice fades.
“I was frightened you’d leave me if I didn’t agree to all of it,” I whisper.
“I’m not going anywhere, Anastasia. Besides… ” He trails off, and after some thought, he adds. “We’re following your advice, your definition: compromise. You emailed it to me. And so far, it’s working for me.”
“I love that you want more,” I murmur shyly.
“I know.”
“How do you know?”
“Trust me. I just do.” He smirks at me. He’s hiding something. What?
At that moment, Leandra arrives with breakfast and our conversation ceases. My stomach rumbles, reminding me how ravenous I am. Christian watches with annoying approval as I devour everything on my plate.
“Can I treat you?” I ask Christian.
“Treat me how?”
“Pay for this meal.”
Christian snorts.
“I don’t think so.” he scoffs.
“Please. I want to.”
He frowns at me.
“Are you trying to completely emasculate me?”
“This is probably the only place that I’ll be able to afford to pay.”
“Anastasia, I appreciate the thought. I do. But no.”
I purse my lips.
“Don’t scowl,” he threatens, his eyes glinting ominously.
Of course he doesn’t ask me for my mother’s address. He knows it already, stalker that he is. When he pulls up outside the house, I don’t comment. What’s the point?
“Do you want to come in?” I ask shyly.
“I need to work, Anastasia, but I’ll be back this evening. What time?”
I ignore the unwelcome stab of disappointment. Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.
“Thank you… for the more.”
“My pleasure, Anastasia.” He kisses me, and I inhale his sexy Christian smell.
“I’ll see you later.”
“Try and stop me,” he whispers.
I wave goodbye as he drives off into the Georgia sunshine. I’m still wearing his sweatshirt and his underwear, and I’m too warm.
In the kitchen, my mom is in a complete flap. It’s not every day she has to entertain a multi-zillionaire, and it’s stressing her out.
“How are you, darling?” she asks, and I flush because she must know what I was doing last night.
“I’m good. Christian took me gliding this morning.” I hope the new information will distract her.
“Gliding? As in a small plane with no engine? That sort of gliding?”
I nod.
She’s speechless – a novel concept for my mother. She gapes at me, but eventually recovers herself and resumes her original line of questioning.
“How was last night? Did you talk?”
Jeez. I flush bright scarlet.
“We talked – last night and today. It’s getting better.”
“Good.” She turns her attention back to the four cookery books she has open on the kitchen table.
“Mom… if you like, I’ll cook this evening.”
“Oh, honey, that’s kind of you, but I want to do it.”
“Okay.” I grimace, knowing full well that my mother’s cooking is pretty hit or miss. Perhaps she’s improved since she moved to Savannah with Bob. There was a time I wouldn’t subject anyone to her cooking… even – who do I hate? Oh yes – Mrs. Robinson – Elena. Well, maybe her. Will I ever meet this damned woman?
I decide to send a quick thank-you to Christian.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Soaring as opposed to sore-ing
Date: June 2 2011 10:20 EST
To: Christian Grey
Sometimes, you really know how to show a girl a good time.
Thank you
Ana x
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Soaring vs sore-ing
Date: June 2 2011 10:24 EST
To: Anastasia Steele
I’ll take either of those over your snoring. I had a good time too.
But I always do when I’m with you.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: SNORING
Date: June 2 2011 10:26 EST
To: Christian Grey
I DO NOT SNORE. And if I do, it’s very ungallant of you to point it out.
You are no gentleman Mr. Grey! And you are in the Deep South too!
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Somniloquy
Date: June 2 2011 10:28 EST
To: Anastasia Steele
I have never claimed to be a gentleman, Anastasia, and I think I have demonstrated that point to you on numerous occasions. I am not intimidated by your SHOUTY capitals. But I will confess to a small white lie: No – you don’t snore, but you do talk. And it’s
What happened to my kiss?
Christian Grey
Cad & CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Holy shit. I know I talk in my sleep. Kate has told me enough times. What the hell have I said? Oh no.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Spill the Beans
Date: June 2 2011 10:32 EST
To: Christian Grey
You are a cad and a scoundrel – definitely no gentleman.
So, what did I say? No kisses for you until you talk!
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Sleeping talking Beauty
Date: June 2 2011 10:35 EST
To: Anastasia Steele
It would be most ungallant of me to say, and I have already been chastised for that.
But if you behave yourself, I may tell you this evening. I do have to go into a meeting now.
Laters, baby.
Christian Grey
CEO, Cad & Scoundrel, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Right! I shall maintain radio silence until this evening. I fume. Jeez. Supposing I’ve said I hate him, or worse still, that I love him, in my sleep. Oh, I hope not. I am not ready to
tell him that, and I’m sure he’s not ready to hear it, if he ever wants to hear it. I scowl at my computer and decide that whatever I cook, I will make bread.
My mom has decided on gazpacho soup and a barbecue with steaks marinated in olive oil, garlic, and lemon. Christian likes meat, and it’s simple to do. Bob has volunteered to man the BBQ grill. What is it about men and fire, I ponder as I trail after my mother through the supermarket with the shopping cart?
As we browse the raw meat cabinet, my phone rings. I scramble for it, thinking it may be Christian. I don’t recognize the number.
“Hello?” I answer breathlessly.
“Anastasia Steele?”
“It’s Elizabeth Morgan from SIP.”
“Oh – hi.”
“I’m calling to offer you the job of assistant to Mr. Jack Hyde. We’d like you to start on Monday.”
“Wow. That’s great. Thank you!”
“You know the salary details?”
“Yes. Yes… that’s – I mean, I accept your offer. I’d love to come and work for you.”
“Excellent. We’ll see you Monday at 8:30 a.m.?”
“See you then. Goodbye. And thank you.”
I beam at my mom.
“You have a job?”
I nod gleefully, and she squeals and hugs me in the middle of Publix supermarket.
“Congratulations, darling! We have to buy some champagne!” She’s clapping her hands and jumping up and down. Is she forty-two or twelve?
I glance down at my phone and frown, there’s a missed call from Christian. He never phones me. I call him straight back.
“Anastasia,” he answers immediately.
“Hi,” I murmur shyly.
“I have to return to Seattle. Something’s come up. I am on my way to Hilton Head now. Please apologize to your mother – I can’t make dinner.” He sounds very businesslike.
“Nothing serious, I hope?”
“I have a situation which I have to deal with. I’ll see you Friday. I’ll send Taylor to collect you from the airport if I can’t come myself.” He sounds cold. Angry even. But for the first time, I don’t immediately think it’s me.
“Okay. I hope you sort out your situation. Have a safe flight.”
“You too, baby,” he breathes, and with those words, my Christian is back briefly. Then he hangs up.
Oh no. The last ‘situation’ he had was my virginity. Jeez, I hope it’s nothing like that. I gaze at my mom. Her earlier jubilation has metamorphosed into concern.
“It’s Christian, he’s had to go back to Seattle. He apologizes.”
“Oh! That’s a shame, darling. We can still have our barbecue, and now we have something to celebrate – your new job! You have to tell me all about it.”
It’s late afternoon, and Mom and I are lying beside the pool. My mother has relaxed to the point where she is literally horizontal now that Mr. Megabucks is not coming to dinner. As I lie in the sun, endeavoring to lose the pale, I think about yesterday evening and breakfast today. I think about Christian, and my ridiculous grin refuses to subside. It keeps creeping across my face, unbidden and disconcerting, as I recall our various conversations and what we did… what he did.
There seems to be tidal shift in Christian’s attitude. He denies it but – he admits he’s trying for more. What could have changed? What has altered since he sent his long email and when I saw him yesterday? What has he done? I sit up suddenly, almost spilling my Dr. Pepper. He had dinner with… her. Elena.
Holy Fuck!
My scalp prickles at the realization. Did she say something to him? Oh… to have been a fly on the wall during their dinner. I could have landed in her soup or on her wine glass and choked her.
“What is it, Ana, honey?” Mom asks, startled from her torpor.
“I’m just having a moment, Mom. What time is it?”
“About 6:30 p.m., darling.”
Hmm… he won’t have landed yet. Can I ask him? Should I ask him? Or perhaps she has nothing to do with it. I fervently hope so. What did I say in my sleep? Crap… some unguarded remark while dreaming about him, I bet? Whatever it is, or was, I hope the sea of change is coming from within him and not because of her.
I am sweltering in this damned heat. I need another dip in the pool.
As I get ready for bed, I switch on my computer. I have heard nothing from Christian. Not even a word that he’s arrived safely.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Safe Arrival?
Date: June 2 2011 22:32 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dear Sir
Please let me know that you have arrived safely. I am starting to worry. Thinking of you.
Your Ana. x
Three minutes later, I hear the ping from my email in-box.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Sorry
Date: June 2 2011 19:36
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I have arrived safely, and please accept my apologies for not letting you know. I don’t want to cause you any worry, it’s heart warming to know that you care for me. I am thinking of you too and as ever looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
I sigh, Christian is back to formality.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: The Situation
Date: June 2 2011 22:40 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
I think it is very evident that I care for you deeply. How could you doubt that?
I hope your ‘situation’ is in hand.
Your Ana xPS: Are you going to tell me what I said in my sleep?
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Pleading the Fifth
Date: June 2 2011 19:45
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I like very much that you care for me. The ‘situation’ here is not yet resolved.
With regard to your PS: The answer is – No.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Pleading Insanity
Date: June 2 2011 22:48 EST
To: Christian Grey
I hope it was amusing. But you should know I cannot accept any responsibility for what comes out of my mouth when I am unconscious. In fact – you probably misheard me.
A man of your advanced years is surely a little deaf.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Pleading Guilty
Date: June 2 2011 19:52
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
Sorry, could you speak up? I can’t hear you.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Pleading Insanity Again
Date: June 2 2011 22:54 EST
To: Christian Grey
You are driving me crazy.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: I hope so…
Date: June 2 2011 19:59
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I intend to do exactly that on Friday evening. Looking forward to it
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Grrrrrr
Date: June 2 2011 23:02 EST
To: Christian Grey
I am officially pissed at you.
Miss A. R. Steele
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Wild Cat
Date: June 2 2011 20:05
To: Anastasia Steele
Are you growling at me Miss Steele?
I possess a cat of my own for growlers.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Cat of his own? I’ve never seen a cat in his apartment. No, I am not going to answer him. Oh, he can be so exasperating sometimes. Fifty shades of exasperating. I clamber into bed and lie glaring at the ceiling as my eyes adjust to the dark. I hear another ping from my computer. I am not going to look. No definitely not. No, I am not going to look. Gah! Like the fool I am, I cannot resist the lure of Christian Grey’s words.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: What you said in your sleep
Date: June 2 2011 20:20
To: Anastasia Steele
I’d rather hear you say the words that you uttered in your sleep when you’re conscious, that’s why I won’t tell you. Go to sleep. You’ll need to be rested with what I have in mind for you tomorrow.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Oh no… What have I said? It’s as bad as I think, I’m sure.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 23 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 23


I glance nervously around the bar but cannot see him.
“Ana, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“It’s Christian, he’s here.”
“What? Really?” She glances around the bar too.
I have neglected to mention Christian’s stalker tendencies to my mom.
I see him. My heart leaps, beginning a juddering thumping beat as he makes his way toward us. He’s really here – for me. My inner goddess leaps up cheering from her chaise longue. Moving smoothly through the crowd, his hair glints burnished copper and red under the recessed halogens. His bright gray eyes are shining with – anger? Tension? His mouth is set in a grim line, jaw tense. Oh holy shit… no. I am so mad at him right now, and here he is. How can I be angry with him in front of my mother?
He arrives at our table, gazing at me warily. He’s dressed in customary white linen shirt and jeans.
“Hi,” I squeak, unable to hide my shock and awe at seeing him here in the flesh.
“Hi,” he replies, and leaning down, he kisses my cheek, taking me by surprise.
“Christian, this is my mother, Carla.” My ingrained manners take over.
He turns to greet my mom.
“Mrs. Adams, I am delighted to meet you.”
How does he know her name? He gives her the heart-stopping, Christian Grey patented, full-blown-no-prisoners-taken smile. She doesn’t have a hope. My mother’s lower jaw practically hits the table. Jeez, get a grip Mom. She takes his proffered hand and they shake. My mother hasn’t replied. Oh, complete dumbfounded speechlessness is genetic – I had no idea.
“Christian,” she manages finally, breathlessly.
He smiles knowingly at her, his gray eyes twinkling. I narrow my eyes at them both.
“What are you doing here?” My question sounds more brittle than I mean, and his smile disappears, his expression now guarded. I am thrilled to see him, but completely thrown off balance, my anger about Mrs. Robinson simmering through my veins. I don’t know if I want to shout at him or throw myself into his arms – but I don’t think he’d like either – and I want to know how long he has been watching us. I’m also a little anxious about the email I just sent him.
“I came to see you, of course.” He gazes down at me impassively. Oh, what is he thinking? “I’m staying in this hotel.”
“You’re staying here?” I sound like a sophomore on amphetamines, too high-pitched even for my own ears.
“Well, yesterday you said you wished I was here.” He pauses trying to gauge my reaction. “We aim to please, Miss Steele.” His voice is quiet with no trace of humor.
Crap – Is he mad? Maybe the Mrs. Robinson comments? Or the fact that I am on my third, soon to be fourth Cosmo? My mother is glancing anxiously at the two of us.
“Won’t you join us for a drink, Christian?” She waves to the waiter who is at her side in a nanosecond.
“I’ll have a gin and tonic,” Christian says. “Hendricks if you have it or Bombay Sapphire. Cucumber with the Hendricks, lime with the Bombay.”
Holy hell… only Christian could make a meal out of ordering a drink.
“And two more Cosmos please,” I add, looking anxiously at Christian. I am drinking with my mother – no way can he be angry about that.
“Please pull up a chair, Christian.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Adams.”
Christian pulls a nearby chair over and sits gracefully down beside me.
“So you just happen to be staying in the hotel where we’re drinking?” I ask, trying hard to keep my tone light.
“Or, you just happen to be drinking in the hotel where I’m staying,” Christian replies. “I just finished dinner, came in here, and saw you. I was distracted thinking about your most recent email, and I glance up and there you are. Quite a coincidence, eh?” He cocks his head to one side, and I see a trace of a smile. Thank heavens – we may be able to save the evening after all.
“My mother and I were shopping this morning and on the beach this afternoon. We decided on a few cocktails this evening,” I mutter, feeling that I owe him some sort of explanation.
“Did you buy that top?” He nods at my brand new green silk camisole, “The color suits you. And you’ve caught some sun. You look lovely.”
I flush, speechless at his compliment.
“Well, I was going to pay you a visit tomorrow. But here you are.”
He reaches over, takes my hand, and squeezes it gently, running his thumb across my knuckles to and fro… and I feel the familiar pull. The electric charge zapping beneath my skin under the gentle pressure from his thumb, firing into my blood stream and pulsing around my body, heating everything in its path. It’s been over two days since I saw him. Oh my… I want him. My breath hitches. I blink at him, smiling shyly, and see a smile play on his beautiful, sculptured lips.
“I thought I’d surprise you. But as ever, Anastasia, you surprise me by being here.”
I glance quickly at Mom who is staring at Christian… yes staring! Stop it Mom. As if he’s some exotic creature, never seen before. I mean, I know I’ve never had a boyfriend, and Christian only qualifies as such for ease of reference – but is it so unbelievable that I could attract a man? This man? Yes, frankly – look at him – my subconscious snaps. Oh, shut up! Who invited you to the party? I scowl at my mom – but she doesn’t seem to notice.
“I don’t want to interrupt the time you have with your mother. I’ll have a quick drink and then retire. I have work to do,” he states earnestly.
“Christian, it’s lovely to meet you finally,” Mom interjects, finally finding her voice. “Ana has spoken very fondly of you.”
He smiles at her.
“Really?” He raises an eyebrow at me, an amused expression on his face, and I flush again.
The waiter arrives with our drinks.
“Hendricks, sir,” he says with a triumphant flourish.
“Thank you,” Christian murmurs in acknowledgement.
I sip my latest Cosmo nervously.
“How long are you in Georgia, Christian?” Mom asks.
“Until Friday, Mrs. Adams.”
“Will you have dinner with us tomorrow evening? And please, call me Carla.”
“I’d be delighted to, Carla.”
“Excellent. If you two will excuse me, I need to visit the powder room.”
Mom… you’ve just been. I look at her desperately as she stands and walks off, leaving us alone together.
“So, you’re mad at me for having dinner with an old friend.” Christian turns his burning, wary gaze to me, lifting my hand to his lips and kissing each knuckle gently.
Jeez, he wants to do this now?
“Yes,” I murmur as my heated blood courses through me.
“Our sexual relationship was over long ago, Anastasia,” he whispers. “I don’t want anyone but you. Haven’t you worked that out yet?”
I blink at him.
“I think of her as a child molester, Christian.” I hold my breath waiting for his reaction.
Christian blanches.
“That’s very judgmental. It wasn’t like that,” he whispers, shocked. He releases my hand.
“Oh, how was it then?” I ask. The Cosmos are making me brave.
He frowns at me, bewildered. I continue.
“She took advantage of a vulnerable fifteen-year-old boy. If you had been a fifteen-year-old girl and Mrs. Robinson was a Mr. Robinson, tempting you into a BDSM lifestyle, that would have been okay? If it was Mia, say?”
He gasps and scowls at me.
“Ana, it wasn’t like that.”
I glare at him.
“Okay, it didn’t feel like that to me,” he continues quietly. “She was a force for good. What I needed.”
“I don’t understand.” It’s my turn to look bewildered.
“Anastasia, your mother will be back shortly. I’m not comfortable talking about this now. Later maybe. If you don’t want me here, I have a plane on stand-by at Hilton Head. I can go.”
He’s angry with me… no.
“No – don’t go. Please. I’m thrilled you’re here. I’m just trying to make you understand. I’m angry that as soon as I left, you had dinner with her. Think about how you are when I get anywhere near José. José is a good friend. I have never had a sexual relationship with him. Whereas you and her,” I trail off, unwilling to take that thought further.
“You’re jealous?” He stares at me, dumbfounded, and his eyes soften slightly, warming.
“Yes, and angry about what she did to you.”
“Anastasia, she helped me, that’s all I’ll say about that. And as for your jealousy, put yourself in my shoes. I haven’t had to justify my actions to anyone in the last seven years. Not one person. I do as I wish, Anastasia. I like my autonomy. I didn’t go and see Mrs. Robinson to upset you. I went because every now and then we have dinner. She’s a friend and a business partner.”
Business partner? Holy crap. This is news.
He gazes at me, assessing my expression.
“Yes, we’re business partners. The sex is over between us. It has been for years.”
“Why did your relationship finish?”
His mouth narrows, and his eyes gleam.
“Her husband found out.”
Holy shit!
“Can we talk about this some other time – somewhere more private?” he growls.
“I don’t think you’ll ever convince me that she’s not some kind of paedophile.”
“I don’t think of her that way. I never have. Now that’s enough!” he snaps.
“Did you love her?”
“How are you two getting on?” My mother has returned, unseen by either of us.
I plaster a fake smile on my face as both Christian and I lean back hastily… guiltily. She gazes at me.
“Fine, Mom.”
Christian sips his drink, watching me closely, his expression guarded. What is he thinking? Did he love her? I think if he did, I will lose it, big time.
“Well ladies, I shall leave you to your evening.”
No… no… he can’t leave me hanging like this.
“Please put these drinks on my tab, room number 612. I’ll call on you in the morning, Anastasia. Until tomorrow, Carla.”
“Oh, it’s so nice to hear someone use your full name.”
“Beautiful name for a beautiful girl,” Christian murmurs, shaking her outstretched hands, and she actually simpers.
Oh Mom, – et tu Bruté? I stand, gazing up at him, imploring him to answer my question, and he kisses my cheek, chastely.
“Laters, baby,” he whispers in my ear. Then he’s gone.
Damned control-freak-bastard. My anger returns in full force. I slump into my chair and turn to face my mother.
“Well strike me down with a feather, Ana. He’s a catch. I don’t know what’s going on between you two though. I think you need to talk to each other. Phew – the UST in here, it’s unbearable.” She fans herself theatrically.
“Go talk to him.”
“I can’t. I came here to see you.”
“Ana, you came here because you’re confused about that boy. It’s obvious you two are crazy about each other. You need to talk to him. He’s just flown three thousand odd miles to see you, for heaven’s sake. And you know how awful it is to fly.”
I flush. I haven’t told her about his private plane.
“What?” she snaps at me.
“He has his own plane,” I mumble, embarrassed, and it’s only two and a half thousand miles, Mom.
Why am I embarrassed? Her eyebrows shoot up.
“Wow,” she mutters. “Ana, there’s something going on between you two. I’ve been trying to fathom it since you arrived here. But the only way you are going to sort the problem, whatever it is, is to talk it through with him. You can do all the thinking you like – but until you actually talk, you’re not going to get anywhere.”
I frown at my mother.
“Ana, honey, you’ve always had a tendency to over-analyze everything. Go with your gut. What does that tell you, sweetheart?”
I stare at my fingers.
“I think I’m in love with him,” I mutter.
“I know darling. And he with you.”
“Yes, Ana. Hell – what do you need? A neon sign flashing on his forehead?”
I gape at her and tears prick the corner of my eyes.
“Ana, darling. Don’t cry.”
“I don’t think he loves me.”
“I don’t care how rich you are, you don’t drop everything and get in your private plane to cross a whole continent just for afternoon tea. Go to him! This is a beautiful location, very romantic. It’s also neutral territory.”
I squirm under her gaze. I want to go and I don’t.
“Darling, don’t feel you have to come back with me. I want you happy – and right now I think the key to your happiness is upstairs in room 612. If you need to come home later, the key is under the Yucca plant on the front porch. If you stay – well… you’re a big girl now. Just be safe.”
I flush stars and stripes red. Jeez, Mom.
“Let’s finish our Cosmos first.”
“That’s my girl, Ana.” She grins.
I knock timidly on room 612 and wait. Christian opens the door. He’s on his cell. He blinks at me in complete surprise, then holds the door open wide and beckons me into his room.
“All the redundancy packages concluded?… And the cost?… ” Christian whistles between his teeth. “Sheesh… that was one expensive mistake… And Lucas? … ”
I glance around the room. He’s in a suite, like the one at the Heathman. The furnishings here are ultra modern, very now. All muted dark purples and golds with bronze starbursts on the walls. Christian walks over to dark wood unit and pulls open a door to reveal a mini-bar. He indicates that I should help myself, then wanders into the bedroom. I assume it’s so I can no longer hear his conversation. I shrug. He didn’t stop his call when I entered his study that time. I hear water running… he’s filling a bath. I help myself to an orange juice. He ambles back into the room.
“Have Andrea send me the schematics. Barney said he’d cracked the problem… ” Christian laughs. “No, Friday… There’s a plot of land here that I’m interested in… Yeah, get Bill to call… No, tomorrow… I want to see what Georgia will offer if we move in.” Christian doesn’t take his eyes off me. Handing me a glass, he points to an ice bucket.
“If their incentives are attractive enough… I think we should consider it, though I’m not sure about the damned heat here… I agree Detroit has its advantages too, and it’s cooler… ” His face darkens momentarily. Why? “Get Bill to call. Tomorrow… Not too early.” He hangs up and stares at me, his face unreadable, and the silence stretches between us.
Okay… my turn to talk.
“You didn’t answer my question,” I murmur.
“No. I didn’t,” he says quietly, his gray eyes wide and cautious.
“No you didn’t answer my question or no you didn’t love her?”
He folds his arms and leans against the wall, and a small smile plays upon his lips.
“What are you doing here, Anastasia?”
“I’ve just told you.”
He takes a deep breath.
“No. I didn’t love her.” He frowns at me, amused yet puzzled.
I can’t believe I’m holding my breath. I sag like an old cloth sack as I release it. Well, thank heavens for that. How would I feel if he actually loved the witch?
“You’re quite the green-eyed goddess, Anastasia. Who would have thought?”
“Are you making fun of me, Mr. Grey?”
“I wouldn’t dare.” He shakes his head solemnly, but he has a wicked gleam in his eye.
“Oh, I think you would, and I think you do – often.”
He smirks as I give him back the words he’s said to me before. His eyes darken.
“Please stop biting your lip. You’re in my room, I haven’t set eyes on you for nearly three days, and I’ve flown a long way to see you.” His tone has changed to soft, sensual.
His BlackBerry buzzes, distracting us both, and he switches it off without glancing to see who it is. My breath hitches. I know where this is going… but we’re supposed to talk. He takes a step towards me wearing his sexy predatory look.
“I want you, Anastasia. Now. And you want me. That’s why you’re here.”
“I really did want to know,” I whisper as a defense.
“Well, now you that you do, are you coming or going?”
I flush as he comes to a halt in front of me.
“Coming,” I murmur, staring anxiously up at him.
“Oh, I hope so.” He gazes down at me. “You were so mad at me,” he breathes.
“I don’t remember anyone but my family ever being mad at me. I like it.”
He runs the tips of fingers down my cheek. Oh my, his proximity, his delicious Christian smell. We’re supposed to be talking, but my heart is pounding, my blood singing as it courses through my body, desire, pooling, unfurling… everywhere. Christian bends and runs his nose along my shoulder and up to the base of my ear, his fingers slipping into my hair.
“We should talk.” I whisper.
“There’s so much I want to say.”
“Me too.”
He plants a soft kiss under my earlobe while his fingers tighten in my hair. Pulling my head back, he exposes my throat to his lips. His teeth skim my chin, and he kisses my throat.
“I want you,” he breathes.
I moan and reach up and grasp his arms.
“Are you bleeding?” He continues to kiss me.
Holy Fuck. Does nothing slip by him?
“Yes,” I whisper, embarrassed.
“Do you have cramps?”
“No.” I flush. Jeez…
He stops and looks down at me.
“Did you take your pill?”
“Yes.” How mortifying is this?
“Let’s go have a bath.”
He takes my hand and leads me into the bedroom. It’s dominated by a super-king size bed with elaborate drapes. But we don’t stop there. He takes me into the bathroom which is two rooms, all aquamarines and white limestone. It’s huge – In the second room a sunken bath, big enough for four people with stone steps that lead into it, is slowly filling
with water. Steam rises gently above the foam, and I notice a stone seat all the way round. Candles flicker to the side. Wow… he’s done all this while on the phone.
“Do you have a hair tie?”
I blink at him, fish into my jeans pocket, and pull out a hair elastic.
“Put your hair up,” he orders softly. I do as he asks.
It’s warm and sultry beside the bath, and my camisole starts to stick. He leans over and shuts off the faucet. leadingL me back into the first part of the bathroom,he stands behind me as we face the wall-sized mirror above the two glass sinks.
“Lift up your arms,” he breathes. I do as I’m told, and he lifts my camisole over my head so that I’m topless standing in front of him. Not taking his eyes off mine, he reaches around and undoes the top button on my jeans and the zipper.
“I’m going to have you in the bathroom, Anastasia.”
Leaning down, he kisses my neck. I move my head to one side and give him easier access. Hooking his thumbs into my jeans, he slowly slides them down my legs, sinking down behind me as he pulls them and my panties to the floor.
“Step out of your jeans.”
Grasping the edge of the sink, I do just that. I am now naked, staring at myself, and he’s kneeling behind me. He kisses and then softly bites my behind, making me gasp. He stands and stares at me once more in the mirror. I try hard to stay still, ignoring my natural inclination to cover myself. He splays his hand across my belly, the span of his hand almost reaching from hip to hip.
“Look at you. You are so beautiful,” he murmurs. “See how you feel.” He clasps both my hands in his, his palms against the backs of my hands, his fingers in between mine so that my fingers are splayed. He places my hands on my belly. “Feel how soft your skin is.” His voice is soft and low. He moves my hands in a slow circle then upwards towards my breasts. “Feel how full your breasts are.” He holds my hands so that they cup my breasts. He gently strokes my nipples with his thumbs over and over.
I moan between parted lips and arch my back so my breasts fill my palms. He squeezes my nipples between our thumbs, pulling gently so that they elongate further. I watch in fascination at the wanton creature writhing in front of me. Oh this feels good. I groan and close my eyes, no longer wanting to see that libidinous woman in the mirror falling apart under her own hands… his hands… feeling my skin as he would, experiencing how arousing it is – just his touch, and his calm, soft, commands.
“That’s right, baby,” he murmurs.
He guides my hands down the sides of my body, past my waist to my hips, and across to my pubic hair. He slides his leg in between mine, pushing my feet further apart, widening my stance, and runs my hands over my sex, one hand at a time in turn, setting up a rhythm. It is so erotic. Truly I am a marionette and he is the master puppeteer.
“Look at you glow, Anastasia,” he whispers as he trails kisses and soft bites along my shoulder. I groan. Suddenly he lets go.
“Carry on,” he orders, and stands back watching me.
I rub myself. No. I want him, him to do it. It doesn’t feel the same. I’m lost without him. He pulls his shirt over his head and quickly takes off his jeans.
“You’d rather I do this?” His gray gaze scorches mine in the mirror.
“Oh yes… please,” I breathe.
He wraps his arms around me again and takes my hands once more, continuing the sensual caress across my sex, over my clitoris. His chest hair scrapes against me, his erection presses against me. Oh soon… please. He bites the nape of my neck, and I close my eyes, enjoying the myriad of sensations; my neck, my groin… the feel of him behind me. He stops abruptly and spins me around, circling my wrists with one hand, imprisoning my hands behind me, and pulling at my ponytail with the other. I am flush against him, and he kisses me wildly, ravaging my mouth with his. Holding, h me in place.
His breathing is ragged, matching mine.
“When did you start your period, Anastasia?” he asks out of the blue, gazing down at me.
“Err… yesterday,” I mumble in my highly aroused state.
“Good.” He releases me and turns me around.
“Hold on to the sink,” he orders and pulls my hips back again, like he did in the playroom, so I’m bending down.
He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string… what! And… a gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy fuck. Sweet mother of all… Jeez. And then he’s inside me… ah! Skin against skin… moving slowly at first… easily, testing me, pushing me… oh my. I grip on to the sink, panting, forcing myself back on him, feeling him inside me. Oh the sweet agony… his hands clasp my hips. He sets a punishing rhythm – in, out, and he reaches around and finds my clitoris, massaging me… oh jeez. I can feel myself quicken.
“That’s right, baby,” he rasps as he grinds into me, angling his hips, and it’s enough to send me flying, flying high.
Whoa… and I come, loudly, gripping for dear life onto the sink as I spiral down through my orgasm, everything spinning and clenching at once. He follows, clasping me tightly, his front on my back as he climaxes and calls my name like it’s a litany or a prayer.
“Oh, Ana!” His breathing is ragged in my ear, in perfect synergy with mine. “Oh, baby, will I ever get enough of you?” he whispers.
Will it always be like this? So overwhelming, so all-consuming, so bewildering and beguiling. I wanted to talk, but now I’m spent and dazed from his lovemaking and wondering if I will ever get enough of him?
We sink slowly to the floor, and he wraps his arms around me, imprisoning me. I am curled on his lap, my head against his chest, as we both calm. Very subtly, I inhale his sweet, intoxicating Christian scent. I must not nuzzle. I must not nuzzle. I repeat the mantra in my head – though I am so tempted to do so. I want to lift my hand and draw patterns in his chest hair with my fingertips… but I resist, knowing that he’ll hate it if I do. We are both quiet, lost in our thoughts. I am lost in him… lost to him.
I remember that I have my period.
“I’m bleeding,” I murmur.
“Doesn’t bother me,” he breathes.
“I noticed.” I can’t keep the dryness out of my voice.
He tenses slightly.
“Does it bother you?” he asks softly.
Does it bother me? Maybe it should… should it? No, it doesn’t. I lean back and look up at him, and he gazes down at me, his eyes a soft cloudy gray.
“No, not at all.”
He smirks.
“Good. Let’s have a bath.”
He uncurls from around me, placing me on the floor as he makes to stand. As he does, I notice again the small, round, white scars on his chest. They are not chicken pox, I muse absentmindedly. Grace said he was hardly affected. Holy shit… they must be burns. Burns from what? I blanch at the realization, shock and revulsion coursing through me. From cigarettes? Mrs. Robinson, his birth mother, who? Who did this to him? Maybe there’s a reasonable explanation, and I’m over-reacting – wild hope blossoms in my chest – hope that I am wrong.
“What is it?” Christian’s face is wide-eyed with alarm.
“Your scars,” I whisper. “They’re not from chicken pox.”
I watch as in a split second he closes down, his stance changing from relaxed, calm, and at ease, to defensive – angry, even. He frowns, his face darkening, and his mouth presses into a thin, hard line.
“No, they’re not,” he snaps, but he does not elaborate further. He stands, holds his hand out for me, and hauls me to my feet.
“Don’t look at me like that.” His voice is colder and scolding as he lets go of my hand.
I flush, chastened, and stare down at my fingers, and I know, I know that someone stubbed cigarettes out on Christian. I feel sick.
“Did she do that?” I whisper before I can stop myself.
He says nothing, so I’m forced to look at him. He’s glaring at me.
“She? Mrs. Robinson? She’s not an animal, Anastasia. Of course she didn’t. I don’t understand why you feel you have to demonize her.”
He’s standing there, naked, gloriously naked, with my blood on him… and we’re finally having this conversation. And I’m naked too – neither of us has anywhere to hide, except perhaps the bath. I take a deep breath, move past him, and step down into the water. It is deliciously warm, soothing, and deep. I melt into the fragrant foam and stare up at him, hiding among the bubbles.
“I just wonder what you would be like if you hadn’t met her. If she hadn’t introduced you to your… um, lifestyle.”
He sighs and steps down into the bath opposite me, his jaw clenched with tension, his eyes frosty. As he gracefully submerges his body beneath the water, he’s careful not to touch me. Jeez – have I made him that mad?
He stares impassively at me, his face unreadable, saying nothing. Again the silence stretches between us, but I hold my counsel. It’s your turn Grey – I am not caving this time. My subconscious is nervous, anxiously biting her nails – this could go either way. Christian and I stare at each other, but I am not backing down. Eventually, after what seems like a millennium, he shakes his head, and he smirks.
“I would probably have gone the way of my birth mother, had it not been for Mrs. Robinson.”
Oh! I blink at him. Crack addict or whore? Possibly both?
“She loved me in a way I found… acceptable,” he adds with a shrug.
What the hell does that mean?
“Acceptable?” I whisper.
“Yes.” He stares intently at me. “She distracted me from the destructive path I found myself following. It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.”
Oh no. My mouth dries as I digest his words. He gazes as me, his expression unfathomable. He’s not going to tell me any more. How frustrating. Inside, I’m reeling – he sounds so full of self-loathing. And Mrs. Robinson loved him. Holy shit… does she still? I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach.
“Does she still love you?”
“I don’t think so, not like that.” He frowns as if he hasn’t thought about the idea. “I keep telling you it was a long time ago. It’s in the past. I couldn’t change it even if I wanted to, which I don’t. She saved me from myself.” He’s exasperated and runs a wet hand through his hair. “I’ve never discussed this with anyone.” He pauses, “Except Dr. Flynn, of course. And the only reason I’m talking about this now, to you, is because I want you to trust me.”
“I do trust you, but I do want to know you better, and whenever I try to talk to you, you distract me. There’s so much I want to know.”
“Oh for pity’s sake, Anastasia. What do you want to know? What do I have to do?” His eyes blaze, and though he doesn’t raise his voice, I know he’s trying to rein in his temper.
I glance quickly down at my hands, clear beneath the water as the bubbles have started to disperse.
“I’m just trying to understand, you’re such an enigma. Unlike anyone I’ve met before. I’m glad you’re telling me what I want to know.”
Jeez – maybe it’s the Cosmopolitans making me brave, but suddenly I cannot bear the distance between us. I move through the water to his side and lean against him so we’re touching, skin to skin. He tenses and eyes me warily, as if I might bite. Well, that’s a turnaround. My inner goddess gazes at him in quiet, surprised speculation.
“Please don’t be angry with me,” I whisper.
“I am not angry with you, Anastasia. I’m just not used to this kind of talking – this probing. I only have this with Dr. Flynn and with–” He stops and frowns.
“With her. Mrs. Robinson. You talk to her?” I prompt, trying to rein in my own temper.
“Yes, I do.”
“What about?”
He shifts in the bath so that he’s facing me, causing the water to lap over the sides onto the floor. He places his arm around my shoulders, resting on the ledge of the bath.
“Persistent aren’t you?” he murmurs, a trace of irritation in his voice. “Life, the universe – business. Anastasia, Mrs. R and I go way back. We can discuss anything.”
“Me?” I whisper.
“Yes.” Gray eyes watch me carefully.
I bite my bottom lip, trying to curb the sudden rush of anger that surfaces.
“Why do you talk about me?” I endeavor not to sound whiney and petulant, but I don’t succeed. I know I should stop. I am pushing him too hard. My subconscious has her Edvard Munch face on again.
“I’ve never met anyone like you, Anastasia.”
“What does that mean? Anyone who just didn’t automatically sign your paperwork, no questions asked?”
He shakes his head.
“I need advice.”
“And you take advice from Mrs. Paedo?” I snap. The hold on my temper is more tentative than I thought.
“Anastasia – enough,” he snaps back sternly, his eyes narrowing.
I’m skating on thin ice, and I’m heading into danger. “Or I’ll put you across my knee. I have no sexual or romantic interest in her whatsoever. She’s a dear, valued friend and a business partner. That’s all. We have a past, a shared history, which was monumentally beneficial for me, though it fucked up her marriage – but that side of our relationship is over.”
Jeez – another part I just can’t understand. She was married as well. How did they get away with it for so long?
“And your parents never found out?”
“No,” he growls. “I’ve told you this.”
And I know that’s it. I cannot ask him any further questions about her because he will lose it with me.
“Are you done?” he snaps.
“For now.”
He takes a deep breath and visibly relaxes in front of me, like a great weight is lifted from his shoulders or something.
“Right – my turn,” he mutters, and his glare turns steely, speculative. “You haven’t responded to my email.”
I flush. Oh, I hate the spotlight on me, and it seems he’s going to get angry every time we have a discussion. I shake my head. Perhaps that’s how he feels about my questions, he’s not used to being challenged. The thought is revelatory, distracting, and unnerving.
“I was going to respond. But now you’re here.”
“You’d rather I wasn’t?” he breathes, his expression impassive again.
“No, I’m pleased,” I murmur.
“Good.” He gives me a genuine, relieved smile. “I’m pleased I’m here too – in spite of your interrogation. So, while it’s acceptable to grill me, you think you can claim some kind of diplomatic immunity just because I’ve flown all this way to see you? I’m not buying it, Miss Steele. I want to know how you feel.”
Oh no…
“I told you. I am pleased you’re here. Thank you for coming all this way,” I say feebly.
“It’s my pleasure, Miss Steele.” His eyes shine as he leans down and kisses me gently. I feel myself responding automatically. The water is still warm, the bathroom still steamy. He stops and pulls back, gazing down at me.
“No. I think I want some answers first before we do any more.”
More? There’s that word again. And he wants answers… answers to what? I don’t have a secret past – I don’t have a harrowing childhood. What could he possibly want to know about me that he doesn’t already know?
I sigh, resigned.
“What do you want to know?”
“Well, how you feel about our would-be arrangement, for starters.”
I blink at him. Truth or dare time – my subconscious and inner goddess glance nervously at one another. Hell, let’s go for truth.
“I don’t think I can do it for an extended period of time. A whole weekend being someone I’m not.” I flush and stare at my hands.
He tips my chin up, and he’s smirking at me, amused.
“No, I don’t think you could either.”
And part of me feels slightly affronted and challenged.
“Are you laughing at me?”
“Yes, but in a good way,” he says with a small smile.
He leans down and kisses me softly, briefly.
“You’re not a great submissive,” he breathes as he holds my chin, his eyes dancing with humor.
I stare at him shocked, then I burst out laughing – and he joins me.
“Maybe I don’t have a good teacher.”
He snorts.
“Maybe. Perhaps I should be stricter with you.” He cocks his head to one side and gives me an artful smile.
I swallow. Jeez, no. But at the same time, my muscles clench deliciously deep inside. It is his way of showing that he cares. Perhaps the only way he can show he cares – I realize that. He’s staring at me, gauging my reaction.
“Was it that bad when I spanked you the first time?”
I gaze back at him, blinking. Was it that bad? I remember feeling confused by my reaction. It hurt, but not that much in retrospect. He’s said over and over again it’s more in my head. And the second time… Well, that was good… hot.
“No, not really,” I whisper.
“It’s more the idea of it?” he prompts.
“I suppose. Feeling pleasure, when one isn’t supposed to.”
“I remember feeling the same. Takes a while to get your head around it.”
Holy hell. This was when he was a kid.
“You can always safe-word, Anastasia. Don’t forget that. And, as long as you follow the rules, which fulfill a deep need in me for control and to keep you safe, then perhaps we can find a way forward.”
“Why do you need to control me?”
“Because it satisfies a need in me that wasn’t met in my formative years.”
“So it’s a form of therapy?”
“I’ve not thought of it like that, but yes, I suppose it is.”
This I can understand. This will help.
“But, here’s the thing – one moment you say don’t defy me, the next you say you like to be challenged. That’s a very fine line to tread successfully.”
He gazes at me for a moment, then frowns.
“I can see that. But you seem to be doing fine so far.”
“But at what personal cost? I’m tied up in knots here.”
“I like you tied up in knots,” he smirks.
“That’s not what I meant!” I splash him in exasperation.
He gazes down at me, arching an eyebrow.
“Did you just splash me?”
“Yes.” Holy shit… that look.
“Oh, Miss Steele.” He grabs me and pulls me onto his lap, sloshing water all over the floor. “I think we’ve done enough talking for now.”
He clasps his hands on either side of my head and kisses me. Deeply. Possessing my mouth. Angling my head… controlling me. I moan against his lips. This is what he likes. This is what he’s so good at. Everything ignites inside me and my fingers are in his hair, holding him to me, and I’m kissing him back and saying I want you too the only way I know how. He groans, shifting me so I’m astride him, kneeling over him, his erection beneath me. He pulls back and looks at me, his eyes hooded, glowing and lustful. I drop my hands to grab on to the edge of the bath but he grips both my wrists and pulls my hands behind my back, holding them together in one hand.
“I’m going to have you now,” he whispers and lifts me so that I’m hovering over him. “Ready?” he breathes.
“Yes,” I whisper, and he eases me on to him, slowly, exquisitely slowly… filling me… watching me as he takes me.
I groan, closing my eyes, and I revel in the sensation, the stretching fullness. He flexes his hips, and I gasp, leaning forward, resting my forehead against his.
“Please let my hands go,” I whisper.
“Don’t touch me,” he pleads, and releasing my wrists, he grabs my hips.
Clasping the bath ledge, I move up and then down slowly, opening my eyes to gaze at him. He’s watching me. His mouth open slightly, his breathing halted, stilted – his tongue between his teeth. He looks so… hot. We’re wet and slippery and moving against each other. I lean down and kiss him. He closes his eyes. Tentatively, I bring my hands up to his head and run my fingers through his hair, not taking my lips from his mouth. This is allowed. He likes this. I like this. And we move together. I tug his hair, tipping his head back and deepen the kiss, riding him – faster, picking up the rhythm. I moan against his mouth. He starts to lift me faster, faster… holding my hips. Kissing me back. We are wet mouths and tongues, tangled hair, and moving hips. All sensation… all consuming again. I am close… I am starting to recognize this delicious tightening… quickening. And the water… it’s swirling around us, our own whirlpool, a stirring vortex as our movements become more frantic… sloshing everywhere, mirroring what’s happening inside me… and I just don’t care.
I love this man. I love his passion, the effect I have on him. I love that he’s flown so far to see me. I love that he cares about me… he cares. It’s so unexpected, so fulfilling. He is mine, and I am his.
“That’s right, baby,” he breathes.
And I come, my orgasm ripping through me, a turbulent, passionate, apogee that devours me whole. And suddenly Christian crushes me to him… his arms wrapped around my back as he finds his release.
“Ana, baby!” he cries, and it’s a wild invocation, stirring and touching the depths of my soul.
We lie staring at each other, gray eyes into blue, face to face, in the super king bed, both hugging our pillows on our fronts. Naked. Not touching. Just looking and admiring, covered by the sheet.
“Do you want to sleep?” Christian asks, his voice soft. He is beautiful; the mix of colors in his hair vivid against the white Egyptian cotton pillowcase, gray eyes, smoldering, expressive. He looks concerned.
“No. I’m not tired.” I feel strangely energized. It’s been so good to talk – I don’t want to stop.
“What do you want to do?” he asks.
He smiles.
“About what?”
“What stuff?”
“What about me?”
“What’s your favorite film?”
He grins.
“Today, it’s ‘The Piano’.”
His grin is infectious.
“Of course. Silly me. Such a sad, exciting score, which no doubt you can play? So many accomplishments, Mr. Grey.”
“And the greatest one is you, Miss Steele.”
“So I am number seventeen.”
He frowns at me not comprehending.
“Number of women you’ve um… had sex with.”
His lips quirk up, his eyes shining with incredulity.
“Not exactly.”
“You said fifteen,” My confusion is obvious.
“I was referring to the number of women in my playroom. I thought that’s what you meant. You didn’t ask me how many women I’d had sex with.”
“Oh.” Holy shit… there’s more… How? I gape at him. “Vanilla?”
“No. You are my one vanilla conquest,” he shakes his head, still grinning at me.
Why does he find this funny? And why am I grinning back at him like an idiot?
“I can’t give you a number. I didn’t put notches in the bedpost or anything.”
“What are we talking – tens, hundreds… thousands?” My eyes grow wilder as the numbers get larger.
“Tens. We’re in the tens, for pity’s sake.”
“All submissives?”
“Stop grinning at me,” I scold him mildly, trying and failing to keep a straight face.
“I can’t. You’re funny.”
“Funny peculiar or funny ha ha?”
“A bit of both I think.” His words mirror mine.
“That’s a damned cheek, coming from you.”
He leans across and kisses the tip of my nose.
“This will shock you, Anastasia. Ready?”
I nod, wide-eyed, still with the stupid grin on my face.
“All submissives in training, when I was training. There are places in and around Seattle that one can go and practice. Learn to do what I do,” he says.
“Oh.” I blink at him.
“Yep, I’ve paid for sex, Anastasia.”
“That’s nothing to be proud of,” I mutter haughtily. “And you’re right… I am deeply shocked. And cross that I can’t shock you.”
“You wore my underwear.”
“Did that shock you?”
“Yes.” My inner goddess pole-vaults over the fifteen-foot bar.
“You didn’t wear your panties to meet my parents.”
“Did that shock you?”
Jeez, the bar’s moved to sixteen feet.
“It seems I can only shock you in the underwear department.”
“You told me you were a virgin. That’s the biggest shock I’ve ever had.”
“Yes, your face was a picture, a Kodak moment.” I giggle.
“You let me work you over with a riding crop.”
“Did that shock you?”
I grin.
“Well, I may let you do it again.”
“Oh, I do hope so, Miss Steele. This weekend?”
“Okay,” I agree, shyly.
“Yes. I’ll go to the Red Room of Pain again.”
“You say my name.”
“That shocks you?”
“The fact that I like it shocks me.”
He grins.
“I want to do something tomorrow.” His eyes glow with excitement.
“A surprise. For you.” His voice is low and soft.
I raise an eyebrow and stifle a yawn at the same time.
“Am I boring you, Miss Steele?” His tone is sardonic.
He leans across and kisses me gently on my lips.
“Sleep,” he commands, then switches off the light.
And in this quiet moment, as I close my eyes, spent and sated, I think I’m in the eye of the storm. And in spite of all he’s said, and what he hasn’t said, I don’t think I have ever been so happy.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 22 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 22


I am manicured, massaged, and I’ve had two glasses of champagne. The First Class lounge has many redeeming features. With each sip of Moet, I feel slightly more inclined to forgive Christian and his intervention. I open up my MacBook, hoping to test the theory that it works anywhere on the planet.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Over-Extravagant Gestures
Date: May 30 2011 21:53
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
What really alarms me is how you knew which flight I was on.
Your stalking knows no bounds. Let’s hope that Dr. Flynn is back from vacation.
I have had a manicure, a back massage, and two glasses of champagne – a very nice start to my vacation.
Thank you.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: You’re Most Welcome
Date: May 30 2011 21:59
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
Dr. Flynn is back, and I have an appointment this week.
Who was massaging your back?
Christian Grey
CEO with friends in the right places, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Aha! Pay back time. Our flight has been called so I shall email him from the plane. It will be safer. I almost hug myself with mischievous glee.
There is so much room in first class. Champagne cocktail in hand, I settle myself into the sumptuous leather window seat as the cabin slowly fills. I call Ray to tell him where I am – a mercifully brief call, as it’s so late for him.
“Love you, Dad,” I murmur.
“You too, Annie. Say hi to your mom. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” I hang up.
Ray is in good form. I stare at my Mac and with the same childish glee building. Opening my laptop, I log into the email program.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Strong Able Hands
Date: May 30 2011 22:22
To: Christian Grey
Dear Sir
A very pleasant young man massaged my back. Yes. Very pleasant indeed. I wouldn’t have encountered Jean-Paul in the ordinary departure lounge – so thank you again for that treat. I’m not sure if I’ll be allowed to email once we take off, and I need my beauty sleep since I’ve not been sleeping so well recently.
Pleasant dreams Mr. Grey… thinking of you.
Oh, he’s going to flip out – and I shall be airborne and out of reach. Serves him right. If I’d been in the ordinary departure lounge then Jean-Paul wouldn’t have gotten his hands on me. He was a very nice young man, in a blonde, perma-tanned way – honestly, who has a tan in Seattle? It’s just so wrong. I think he was gay – but I’ll just keep that detail to myself. I stare at my email. Kate is right. It is like shooting fish in a barrel with him. My subconscious stares at me with an ugly twist to her mouth – do you really want to wind him up? What he’s done is sweet, you know! He cares about you and wants you to travel in
style. Yes, but he could have asked me or told me. Not made me look like a complete klutz at check-in. I press send and wait, feeling like a very naughty girl.
“Miss Steele, you’ll need to stow your laptop for take-off,” the over-made-up flight attendant says politely. She makes me jump. My guilty conscience is at work.
“Oh, sorry.”
Crap. Now I’ll have to wait to know if he’s replied. She hands me a soft blanket and pillow, showing her perfect teeth. I drape the blanket over my knees. It’s nice to feel mollycoddled sometimes.
The cabin has filled up, except for the seat beside me which is still unoccupied. Oh no… a disturbing thought crosses my mind. Perhaps the seat is Christian’s. Oh shit… no… he wouldn’t do that. Would he? I told him I didn’t want him to come with me. I glance anxiously at my watch and then the disembodied voice from the flight deck announces,
“Cabin crew, doors to automatic and cross check.”
What does that mean? Are they closing the doors? My scalp prickles as I sit in palpitating anticipation. The seat next to me is the only unoccupied one in the sixteen-seat cabin. The plane jolts as it pulls away from its stand, and I breathe a sigh of relief but feel a faint tingle of disappointment too… no Christian for four days. I take a sneak peek at my BlackBerry.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Enjoy it While You Can
Date: May 30 2011 22:25
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I know what you’re trying to do – and trust me – you’ve succeeded. Next time you’ll be in the cargo hold, bound and gagged in a crate. Believe me when I say that attending to you in that state will give me so much more pleasure than merely upgrading your ticket.
I look forward to your return.
Christian Grey
Palm-Twitching CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Holy crap. That’s the problem with Christian’s humor – I can be never be sure if he’s joking or if he’s seriously angry. I suspect on this occasion he’s seriously angry. Surreptitiously, so the flight attendant can’t see, I type a reply under the blanket.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Joking?
Date: May 30 2011 22:30
To: Christian Grey
You see – I have no idea if you’re joking – and if you’re not – then I think I’ll stay in Georgia. Crates are a hard limit for me. Sorry I made you mad. Tell me you forgive me.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Joking
Date: May 30 2011 22:31
To: Anastasia Steele
How can you be emailing? Are you risking the life of everyone on board, including yourself, by using your BlackBerry? I think that contravenes one of the rules.
Christian Grey
Two Palms Twitching CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Two palms! I put my BlackBerry away, sit back while the plane taxis to the runway, and pull out my tattered copy of Tess – some light reading for the journey. Once we’re airborne, I tip my seat back, and soon I’m drifting off to sleep.
The flight attendant wakes me as we start our descent into Atlanta. Local time is 5:45 a.m., but I’ve only had four hours sleep or so… I feel groggy, but grateful for the glass of orange juice she hands me. I glance nervously at my BlackBerry. There are no further emails from Christian. Well, it’s nearly three in the morning in Seattle, and he probably wants to discourage me from screwing up the avionics system, or whatever prevents planes from flying if mobile phones are switched on.
The wait in Atlanta is only an hour. And again I’m luxuriating in the confines of the first class lounge. I am tempted to curl up and go to sleep on one of the plush, inviting couches that sink softly under my weight. But it will just not be long enough. To keep myself awake, I start a long steam of consciousness to Christian on my laptop.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Do you like to scare me?
Date: May 31 2011 06:52 EST
To: Christian Grey
You know how much I dislike you spending money on me. Yes, you’re very rich, but still it makes me uncomfortable, like you’re paying me for sex. However, I like traveling first class, it’s so much more civilized than coach. So thank you. I mean it – and I did enjoy the massage from Jean Paul. He was very gay. I omitted that bit in my email to you to wind you up, because I was annoyed with you, and I’m sorry about that.
But as usual you overreact. You can’t write things like that to me – bound and gagged in a crate – (Were you serious or was it a joke?) That scares me… you scare me… I am completely caught up in your spell, considering a lifestyle with you that I didn’t even know
existed until last Saturday week, and then you write something like that and I want to run screaming into the hills. I won’t, of course, because I’d miss you. Really miss you. I want us to work, but I am terrified of the depth of feeling I have for you and the dark path you’re leading me down. What you are offering is erotic and sexy, and I’m curious, but I’m also scared you’ll hurt me – physically and emotionally. After three months you could say goodbye, and where will that leave me if you do? But then I suppose that risk is there in any relationship. This just isn’t the sort of relationship I ever envisaged having, especially as my first. It’s a huge leap of faith for me.
You were right when you said I didn’t have a submissive bone in my body… and I agree with you now. Having said that, I want to be with you, and if that’s what I have to do, I would like to try, but I think I’ll suck at it and end up black and blue – and I don’t relish that idea at all.
I am so happy that you have said that you will try more. I just need to think about what ‘more’ means to me, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted some distance. You dazzle me so much I find it very difficult to think clearly when we’re together.
They are calling my flight. I have to go.
More later
Your Ana
I press send and make my way sleepily to the departure gate to board a different plane. This one has only six seats in first class, and once we are in the air, I curl up under my soft blanket and fall asleep.
All too soon, I’m woken by the flight attendant offering me more orange juice as we begin our approach to Savannah International. I sip slowly, beyond fatigued, and I allow myself to feel a modicum of excitement. I’m going to see my mother for the first time in six months. Sneaking another covert look at my BlackBerry, I remember vaguely that I sent a long rambling email to Christian – but there’s nothing in response. It’s five in the morning in Seattle – hopefully he’s still asleep and not up playing mournful laments on his piano.
The beauty of carry-on rucksacks is that one can breeze out of the airport and not wait endlessly for baggage at the carousels. The beauty of traveling first class is that they let you off the plane first.
My mom is waiting with Bob, and it is so good to see them. I don’t know if it’s because of exhaustion, the long journey, or the whole Christian situation, but as soon as I’m in my mother’s arms, I burst into tears.
“Oh Ana, honey. You must be so tired.” She glances anxiously at Bob.
“No Mom, it’s just – I’m so pleased to see you.” I hug her tightly.
She feels so good and welcoming and home. Reluctantly, I relinquish her, and Bob gives me an awkward one-armed hug. He seems unsteady on his feet, and I remember that he’s hurt his leg.
“Welcome back, Ana. Why you cryin’?” he asks.
“Aw, Bob, I’m just pleased to see you too.” I stare up into his handsome square-jawed face, and his twinkling blue eyes that gaze at me fondly. I like this husband, Mom. You can keep him. He takes my backpack.
“Jeez, Ana, what have you got in here?”
That will be the Mac, and they both put their arms around me as we head for the parking lot.
I always forget how unbearably hot it is in Savannah. Leaving the cool air-conditioned confines of the arrival terminal, we step into the Georgia heat like we’re wearing it. Whoa! It saps everything. I have to struggle out of Mom and Bob’s embrace so I can remove my hoodie. I am so glad I packed shorts. I miss the dry heat of Vegas sometimes, where I lived with Mom and Bob when I was seventeen, but this wet heat, even at 8:30 in the morning, takes some getting used to. By the time I’m in the back of Bob’s wonderfully air-conditioned Tahoe SUV, I feel limp, and my hair has started a frizzy protest at the heat. In the back of the SUV I quickly text Ray, Kate, and Christian:
*Arrived Safely in Savannah. A :)*
My thoughts stray briefly to José as I press send, and through the fog of my fatigue, I remember that it’s his show next week. Should I invite Christian knowing how he feels about José? Will Christian still want to see me after that email? I shudder at the thought, and then put it out of my mind. I’ll deal with that later. Right now I am going to enjoy my mom’s company.
“Honey, you must be tired. Would you like to sleep when we get home?”
“No, Mom. I’d like to go to the beach.”
I am in my blue halter neck tankini, sipping a Diet Coke, on a sun bed facing the Atlantic Ocean, and to think that only yesterday I was staring out at the Sound toward the Pacific. My mother lounges beside me in a ridiculously large floppy sun hat and Jackie O shades, sipping a Coke of her own. We are on Tybee Island Beach, just three blocks from home. She holds my hand. My fatigue has waned, and as I soak up the sun, I feel comfortable, safe, and warm. For the first time in forever, I start to relax.
“So Ana… tell me about this man who has you in such a spin.”
Spin! How can she tell? What to say? I can’t talk about Christian in any great detail because of the NDA, but even then, would I choose to talk to my mother about it? I blanch at the thought.
“Well?” she prompts and squeezes my hand.
“His name’s Christian. He’s beyond handsome. He’s wealthy… too wealthy. He’s very complicated and mercurial.”
Yes – I feel inordinately pleased with my concise, accurate summary. I turn on my side to face her, just as she makes the same move. She gazes at me with her crystal-clear blue eyes.
“Complicated and mercurial are the two pieces of information I want to concentrate on, Ana.”
Oh no…
“Oh, Mom, his mood-swings make me dizzy. He’s had a grim upbringing, so he’s very closed, difficult to gauge.”
“Do you like him?”
“I more than like him.”
“Really?” She gapes at me.
“Yes, Mom.”
“Men aren’t really complicated, Ana, honey. They are very simple, literal creatures. They usually mean what they say. And we spend hours trying to analyze what they’ve said – when really it’s obvious. If I were you, I’d take him literally. That might help.”
I gape at her. This sounds like good advice. Take Christian literally. Immediately some of the things he’s said spring into my mind.
I don’t want to lose you…
You’ve bewitched me…
You’ve completely beguiled me…
I’ll miss you too… more than you know…
I gaze at my mom. She is on her fourth marriage. Maybe she does know something about men after all.
“Most men are moody darling, some more than others. Take your father for instance…,” Her eyes soften and sadden whenever she thinks of my dad. My real dad, this mythical man I never knew, snatched so cruelly from us in a combat training accident when he was a marine. Part of me thinks my mom has been looking for someone like my dad all this time… maybe she’s finally found what she’s looking for in Bob. Pity she couldn’t find it with Ray.
“I used to think your father was moody. But now when I look back, I just think he was too caught up in his job and trying to make a life for us.” She sighs. “He was so young, we both were. Maybe that was the issue.”
Hmm… Christian is not exactly old. I smile fondly at her. She can become very soulful thinking about my father, but I’m sure he had nothing on Christian’s moods.
“Bob wants to take us out tonight for dinner. To his golf club.”
“Oh no! Bob’s started playing golf?” I scoff in disbelief.
“Tell me about it,” groans my mother, rolling her eyes.
After a light lunch back at the house, I start to unpack. I am going to treat myself to a siesta. My mother has disappeared to mold some candles or whatever she does with them, and Bob is at work, so I have time to catch up on some sleep. I open the Mac and fire it up. It’s two in the afternoon in Georgia, eleven in the morning in Seattle. I wonder if I have a reply from Christian. Nervously, I log into the email program.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Finally!
Date: May 31 2011 07:30
To: Anastasia Steele
I am annoyed that as soon as you put some distance between us, you communicate openly and honestly with me. Why can’t you do that when we’re together?
Yes, I’m rich. Get used to it. Why shouldn’t I spend money on you? We’ve told your father I’m your boyfriend, for heaven’s sake. Isn’t that what boyfriends do? As your Dom, I would expect you to accept whatever I spend on you with no argument. Incidentally, tell your mother too.
I don’t know how to answer your comment about feeling like a whore. I know that’s not what you’ve written, but it’s what you imply. I don’t know what I can say or do to eradicate these feelings. I’d like you to have the best of everything. I work exceptionally hard, so I can spend my money as I see fit. I could buy you your heart’s desire, Anastasia, and I want to. Call it redistribution of wealth if you will. Or simply know that I would not, could not ever think of you in the way you described, and I’m angry that’s how you perceive yourself. For such a bright, witty, beautiful young woman you have some real self-esteem issues, and I have a half a mind to make an appointment for you with Dr. Flynn.
I apologize for frightening you. I find the thought of instilling fear in you abhorrent. Do you really think I’d let you travel in the hold? I offered you my private jet for heaven’s sake. Yes it was a joke, a poor one obviously. However, the fact is – the thought of you bound and gagged turns me on (this is not a joke – it’s true). I can lose the crate – crates do nothing for me. I know you have issues with gagging, we’ve talked about that and if/when I do gag you, we’ll discuss it. What I think you fail to realize is that in Dom/sub relationships it is the sub that has all the power. That’s you. I’ll repeat this – you are the one with all the power. Not I. In the boathouse you said no. I can’t touch you if you say no – that’s why we have an agreement – what you will and won’t do. If we try things and you don’t like them, we can revise the agreement. It’s up to you – not me. And if you don’t want to be bound and gagged in a crate, then it won’t happen.
I want to share my lifestyle with you. I have never wanted anything so much. Frankly I’m in awe of you, that one so innocent would be willing to try. That says more to me than you could ever know. You fail to see I am caught in your spell, too, even though I have told you this countless times. I don’t want to lose you. I am nervous that you’ve flown three thousand miles to get away from me for a few days, because you can’t think clearly around me. It’s the same for me Anastasia. My reason vanishes when we’re together – that’s the depth of my feeling for you.
I understand your trepidation. I did try to stay away from you; I knew you were inexperienced, though I would never have pursued you if I had known exactly how innocent you were – and yet you still manage to disarm me completely in a way that nobody has before. Your email for example: I have read and re-read it countless times trying to understand your point of view. Three months is an arbitrary amount of time. We could make it six months, a year? How long do you want it to be? What would make you comfortable? Tell me.
I understand that this is a huge leap of faith for you. I have to earn your trust, but by the same token, you have to communicate with me when I am failing to do this. You seem so strong and self-contained, and then I read what you’ve written here, and I see another side to you. We have to guide each other Anastasia, and I can only take my cues from you. You have to be honest with me, and we have to both find a way to make this arrangement work.
You worry about not being submissive. Well maybe that’s true. Having said that, the only
time you do assume the correct demeanor for a sub is in the playroom. It seems that’s the one place where you let me exercise proper control over you, and the only place you do as you’re told. Exemplary is the term that comes to mind. And I’d never beat you black and blue. I aim for pink. Outside the playroom, I like that you challenge me. It’s a very novel and refreshing experience, and I wouldn’t want to change that. So yes, tell me what you want in terms of more. I will endeavor to keep an open mind, and I shall try and give you the space you need and stay away from you while you are in Georgia. I look forward to your next email.
In the meantime, enjoy yourself. But not too much.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Holy crap. He’s written an essay like we’re back at school – and most of it good. My heart is in my mouth as I re-read his epistle, and I huddle on the spare bed practically hugging my Mac. Make our agreement a year? I have the power! Jeez, I’m going to have to think about that. Take him literally, that’s what my mother says. He doesn’t want to lose me. He’s said that twice! He wants to make this work too. Oh Christian, so do I! He’s going to try and stay away! Does this mean he might fail to stay away? Suddenly, I hope so. I want to see him. We’ve been apart less than twenty-four hours, and knowing that I can’t see him for four days, I realize how much I miss him. How much I love him.
“Ana, honey.” The voice is soft and warm, full of love and sweet memories of times gone by.
A gentle hand brushes my face. My mom wakes me, and I’m wrapped around my laptop, hugging it to me.
“Ana, sweetheart,” she continues in her soft singsong voice while I surface from sleep, blinking in the pale pink light of dusk.
“Hi, Mom.” I stretch out and smile.
“We’re going out for dinner in thirty minutes. You still want to come?” she asks kindly.
“Oh, yes, Mom, of course.” I try very hard, but fail to stifle my yawn.
“Now that’s an impressive piece of technology.” She points to my laptop.
Oh crap.
“Oh… this?” I strive for casual, surprised nonchalance.
Will Mom notice? She seems to have grown more astute since I acquired a ‘boyfriend’.
“Christian lent it to me. I think I could pilot the space shuttle with it, but I just use it for emails and Internet access.”
Really it’s nothing. Eyeing me suspiciously, she sits down on the bed and tucks a stray lock of hair behind my ear.
“Has he emailed you?”
Oh double crap.
“Yeah.” My nonchalance is wearing thin, and I flush.
“Perhaps he’s missing you, huh?”
“I hope so, Mom.”
“What does he say?”
Oh triple crap. I frantically try to think of something acceptable from that email I can tell my mother. I’m sure she doesn’t want to hear about Doms and bondage and gagging, but then I can’t tell her because there’s the NDA.
“He’s told me to enjoy myself, but not too much.”
“Sounds reasonable. I’ll leave you to get ready, honey.” Leaning over, she kisses my forehead. “I’m so glad you’re here, Ana. It’s wonderful to see you.” And with that loving statement, she leaves.
Hmm, Christian and reasonable… two concepts that I thought were mutually exclusive, but after his email, maybe all things are possible. I shake my head. I will need time to digest his words. Probably after dinner – and I can reply to him then. I climb out of bed and quickly slip out of my t-shirt and shorts, and head to the shower.
I have brought Kate’s gray halter-neck dress that I wore for my graduation. It’s the only dressy item I have. One good thing about the heat is that the creases have dropped out, so I think it will do for the golf club. As I dress, I wake the laptop up. There is nothing new from Christian, and I feel a stab of disappointment. Very quickly, I type him an email.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Verbose?
Date: May 31 2011 19:08 EST
To: Christian Grey
Sir, you are quite the loquacious writer. I have to go to dinner at Bob’s golf club, and just so you know, I am rolling my eyes at the thought. But you and your twitchy palm are a long way from me so my behind is safe, for now. I loved your email. Will respond when I can. I miss you already.
Enjoy your afternoon.
Your Ana
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your behind
Date: May 31 2011 16:10
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I am distracted by the title of this email. Needless to say it is safe – for now.
Enjoy your dinner, and I miss you too, especially your behind and your smart mouth.
My afternoon will be dull, brightened only by thoughts of you and your eye rolling. I think it was you who so judiciously pointed out to me that I too suffer from that nasty habit.
Christian Grey
CEO & Eye Roller, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Eye Rolling
Date: May 31 2011 19:14 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
Stop emailing me. I am trying to get ready for dinner. You are very distracting, even when you are on the other side of the continent. And yes – who spanks you when you roll your eyes?
Your Ana
I press send, and immediately the image of that evil witch Mrs. Robinson comes into my mind. I just can’t picture it. Christian being beaten by someone as old as my mother, it’s just so wrong. Again I wonder what damage she’s wrought. My mouth sets in a hard grim line. I need a doll to stick pins in, maybe that way I can vent some of the anger I feel at this stranger.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your behind
Date: May 31 2011 16:18
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I still prefer my title to yours, in so many different ways. It is lucky that I am master of my own destiny and no one castigates me. Except my mother occasionally and Dr. Flynn, of course. And you.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Chastising… Me?
Date: May 31 2011 19:22 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dear Sir
When have I ever plucked up the nerve to chastise you, Mr. Grey? I think you are mixing me up with someone else… which is very worrying. I really do have to get ready.
Your Ana
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your behind
Date: May 31 2011 16:25
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
You do it all the time in print. Can I zip up your dress?
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
For some unknown reason, his words leap out of the page and make me gasp. Oh… he wants to play games.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: NC-17
Date: May 31 2011 19:28 EST
To: Christian Grey
I would rather you unzipped it.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Careful what you wish for…
Date: May 31 2011 16:31
To: Anastasia Steele
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Panting
Date: May 31 2011 19:33 EST
To: Christian Grey
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Groaning
Date: May 31 2011 16:35
To: Anastasia Steele
Wish I was there.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Moaning
Date: May 31 2011 19:37 EST
To: Christian Grey
“Ana!” My mother calls me, making me jump. Shit. Why do I feel so guilty?
“Just coming, Mom.”
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Moaning
Date: May 31 2011 19:39 EST
To: Christian Grey
Gotta go.
Laters, baby.
I dash into the hall where Bob and my mother are waiting. My mother frowns.
“Darling – are you feeling ok? You look at bit flushed.”
“Mom, I’m fine.”
“You look lovely, dear.”
“Oh, this is Kate’s dress. You like it?”
Her frown deepens.
“Why are you wearing Kate’s dress?”
Oh… no.
“Well I like this one and she doesn’t,” I improvise quickly.
She regards me shrewdly while Bob oozes impatience with his hangdog, hungry look.
“I’ll take you shopping tomorrow,” she says.
“Oh, Mom, you don’t need to do that. I have plenty of clothes.”
“Can’t I do something for my own daughter? Come on, Bob’s starving.”
“Too right,” moans Bob, rubbing his stomach and assuming a fake pained expression.
I giggle as he rolls his eyes, and we head out the door.
Later when I’m in the shower, cooling under the lukewarm water, I reflect on how much my mother has changed. Seeing her at dinner, she was in her element, funny and flirty and amongst many friends at the golf club. Bob was warm and attentive… they seem so good for each other. I’m really pleased for her. It means I can stop worrying about her and second-guessing her decisions and put the dark days of Husband Number Three behind us both. Bob is a keeper. And she’s giving me good advice. When did that start happening? Since I met Christian. Why is that?
When I’m done, I dry myself quickly, keen to get back to Christian. There’s an email waiting for me, sent just after I left for dinner a few hours ago.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Plagiarism
Date: May 31 2011 16:41
To: Anastasia Steele
You stole my line.
And left me hanging.
Enjoy your dinner.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Who are you to cry thief?
Date: May 31 2011 22:18 EST
To: Christian Grey
Sir, I think you’ll find it was Elliot’s line originally.
Hanging how?
Your Ana
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Unfinished Business
Date: May 31 2011 19:22
To: Anastasia Steele
Miss Steele
You’re back. You left so suddenly – just when things were getting interesting.
Elliot’s not very original. He’ll have stolen that line from someone.
How was dinner?
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Unfinished Business?
Date: May 31 2011 22:26 EST
To: Christian Grey
Dinner was filling – you’ll be very pleased to hear, I ate far too much.
Getting interesting? How?
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Unfinished Business – definitely
Date: May 31 2011 19:30
To: Anastasia Steele
Are you being deliberately obtuse? I think you’d just asked me to unzip your dress.
And I was looking forward to doing just that. I am also glad to hear you are eating.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Well… there’s always the weekend
Date: May 31 2011 22:36 EST
To: Christian Grey
Of course I eat… It’s only the uncertainty I feel around you that puts me off my food.
And I would never be unwittingly obtuse, Mr. Grey.
Surely you’ve worked that out by now 😉
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Can’t Wait
Date: May 31 2011 19:40
To: Anastasia Steele
I shall remember that, Miss Steele, and no doubt use the knowledge to my advantage.
I’m sorry to hear that I put you off your food. I thought I had a more concupiscent effect on you. That has been my experience, and most pleasurable it has been too.
I very much look forward to the next time.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Gymnastic Linguistics
Date: May 31 2011 22:36 EST
To: Christian Grey
Have you been playing with the thesaurus again?
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Rumbled
Date: May 31 2011 19:40
To: Anastasia Steele
You know me so well Miss Steele.
I am having dinner with an old friend now so I will be driving.
Laters, baby©
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Which old friend? I didn’t think Christian had any old friends, except… her. I frown at the screen. Why does he have to still see her? Searing, green, bilious jealousy courses through me unexpectedly. I want to hit something, preferably Mrs. Robinson. Switching the laptop off in a temper, I clamber into bed.
I should really respond to his long email from this morning, but I’m suddenly too angry. Why can’t he see her for what she is – a child molester? I switch off the light, seething, staring into the darkness. How dare she? How dare she pick on a vulnerable adolescent? Is she still doing it? Why did they stop? Various scenarios filter through my mind: he had had enough, then why is he still friends with her? Ditto her – is she married? Divorced? Jeez – does she have children of her own? Does she have Christian’s children? My subconscious rears her ugly head, leering, and I’m shocked and nauseous at the thought. Does Dr. Flynn know about her?
I struggle out of bed and fire the mean machine up again. I am on a mission. I drum my fingers impatiently waiting for the blue screen to appear. I hit Google images and enter ‘Christian Grey’ into the search engine. The screen is suddenly littered with images of Christian: in black tie, be-suited, jeez – José’s pictures from the Heathman, in his white shirt and flannel trousers. How did they get on the Internet? Boy he looks good.
I move quickly on: some with business associates, then picture after glorious picture of the most photogenic man I know, intimately. Intimately? Do I know Christian intimately? I know him sexually, and I figure there’s a lot more to discover there. I know he’s moody, difficult, funny, cold, warm… jeez, the man is a walking mass of contradictions. I click to the next page. He’s still on his own in all these photographs, and I remember Kate mentioning that she couldn’t find any photographs of him with a date, prompting her gay question. Then, on the third page, there’s a picture of me, with him, at my graduation. His only picture with a woman, and it’s me.
Holy cow! I’m on Google! I stare at us together. I look surprised by the camera, nervous, off balance. This was just before I agreed to try. For his part, Christian looks impossibly handsome, calm and collected, and he’s wearing that tie. I gaze at him, such a
beautiful face, a beautiful face that could be staring at Mrs. Damned Robinson right now. I save the picture in my favorites and click through all eighteen screens… nothing. I won’t find Mrs. Robinson on Google. But I have to know if he’s with her. I type a quick email to Christian.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Suitable Dinner Companions
Date: May 31 2011 23:58 EST
To: Christian Grey
I hope you and your friend had a very pleasant dinner.
PS Was it Mrs. Robinson?
I press send and climb despondently back into bed, resolving to ask Christian about his relationship with that woman. Part of me is desperate to know more, and another part wants to forget he ever told me. And my period has started, so I must remember to take my pill in the morning. I quickly program an alarm into the calendar on my BlackBerry. Setting it aside on the bedside table, I lie down and eventually drift into an uneasy sleep, wishing that we were in the same city, not two and half thousand miles apart.
After a morning of shopping and an afternoon back at the beach, my mother has decreed we should spend the evening in a bar. Abandoning Bob to the TV, we find ourselves in the up-market bar of Savannah’s most exclusive hotel. I am on my second Cosmopolitan. My mother is on her third. She is offering more insights into the fragile male ego. It’s very disconcerting.
“You see, Ana, men think that anything that comes out of a woman’s mouth is a problem to be solved. Not some vague idea that we’d like to kick around and talk about for a while and then forget. Men prefer action.”
“Mom, why are telling me this?” I ask, failing to hide my exasperation. She’s been like this all day.
“Darling, you sound so lost. You’ve never brought a boy home. You never even had a boyfriend when we were in Vegas. I thought something might develop with that guy you met in college, José.”
“Mom, José’s just a friend.”
“I know, sweetheart. But something’s up, and I don’t think you’re telling me everything.” She gazes at me, her face etched with motherly concern.
“I just needed some distance from Christian to get my thoughts straight… that’s all. He tends to overwhelm me.”
“Yeah. I miss him though.” I frown.
I have not heard from Christian all day. No emails, nothing. I am tempted to call him to see if he’s okay. My worst fear is that he’s been in a car accident, my second worst fear is that Mrs. Robinson has got her evil claws into him again. I know it’s irrational, but where she’s concerned, I seem to have lost all sense of perspective.
“Darling, I have to visit the powder room.”
My mother’s brief absence allows me another chance to check my BlackBerry. I have been trying surreptitiously to check emails all day. Finally – a response from Christian!
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Dinner Companions
Date: June 1 2011 21:40 EST
To: Anastasia Steele
Yes, I had dinner with Mrs. Robinson. She is just an old friend, Anastasia.
Looking forward to seeing you again. I miss you.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
He was having dinner with her. My scalp prickles as adrenaline and fury lance through my body, all my worst fears realized, crashing through me. How could he? I am away for two days, and he runs off to that evil bitch.From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: OLD Dinner Companions
Date: June 1 2011 21:42 EST
To: Christian Grey
She’s not just an old friend.
Has she found another adolescent boy to sink her teeth into?
Did you get too old for her?
Is that the reason your relationship finished?
I press send as my mother returns.
“Ana, you’re so pale. What’s happened?”
I shake my head.
“Nothing. Let’s have another drink,” I mutter mulishly.
Her brow furrows, but she glances up and attracts the attention of one of the waiters, pointing to our glasses. He nods. He understands the universal language of ‘same again, please.’ As she does, I quickly glance at my BlackBerry.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Careful…
Date: June 1 2011 21:45 EST
To: Anastasia Steele
This is not something I wish to discuss via email.
How many Cosmopolitans are you going to drink?
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Holy fuck, he’s here.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 21 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 21


There is light everywhere. Bright, warm, piercing light, and I endeavor to keep it at bay for a few more precious minutes. I want to hide, just a few more minutes. But the glare is too strong, and I finally succumb to wakefulness. A glorious Seattle morning greets me – sunshine pouring through the full-height windows and flooding the room with too-bright light. Why didn’t we close the blinds last night? I am in Christian Grey’s vast bed minus one Christian Grey.
I lie back for a moment staring through the windows at the lofty vista of Seattle’s skyline. Life in the clouds sure feels unreal. A fantasy – a castle in the air, adrift from the ground, safe from the realities of life – far away from neglect, hunger, and crack-whore mothers. I shudder to think what he went through as a small child, and I understand why he lives here, isolated, surrounded by beautiful, precious works of art – so far removed from where he started… mission statement indeed. I frown because it still doesn’t explain why I can’t touch him.
Ironically, I feel the same up here in his lofty tower. I’m adrift from reality. I’m in this fantasy apartment, having fantasy sex with my fantasy boyfriend. When the grim reality is he wants a special arrangement, though he’s said he’ll try more. What does that actually mean? This is what I need to clarify between us to see if we are still at opposite ends on the see-saw or if we are inching closer together.
I clamber out of bed feeling stiff, and for want of a better expression, well-used. Yes, that would be all the sex then. My subconscious purses her lips in disapproval. I roll my eyes at her, grateful that a certain twitchy-palmed control freak is not in the room, and resolve to ask him about the personal trainer. That’s if I sign. My inner goddess glares at me in desperation. Of course you’ll sign. I ignore them both, and after a quick trip to the bathroom, I go in search of Christian.
He’s not in the art gallery, but an elegant middle-aged woman is cleaning in the kitchen area. The sight of her stops me in my tracks. She has short blonde hair and clear blue eyes; she wears a plain white tailored shirt and a navy blue pencil skirt. She smiles broadly when she sees me.
“Good morning, Miss Steele. Would you like some breakfast?” Her tone is warm but business like, and I am stunned. Who is this attractive blonde in Christian’s kitchen? I’m only wearing Christian’s t-shirt. I feel self-conscious and embarrassed by my lack of clothing.
“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.” My voice is quiet, unable to hide the anxiety in my voice.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry – I’m Mrs. Jones, Mr. Grey’s housekeeper.”
“How do you do?” I manage.
“Would you like some breakfast, ma’am?”
“Just some tea would be lovely, thank you. Do you know where Mr. Grey is?”
“In his study.”
“Thank you.”
I scuttle off toward the study, mortified. Why does Christian only have attractive blondes working for him? And a nasty thought comes involuntarily into my mind – Are they all ex-subs? I refuse to entertain that hideous idea. I poke my head shyly round the door. He’s on the phone, facing the window, in black pants and a white shirt. His hair is still wet from the shower, and I’m completely distracted from my negative thoughts.
“Unless that company’s P&L improves, I’m not interested, Ros. We’re not carrying dead weight… I don’t need any more lame excuses… Have Marco call me, it’s shit or bust time… Yes, tell Barney that the prototype looks good, though I’m not sure about the interface… No, it’s just missing something… I want to meet him this afternoon to discuss… In fact, him and his team, we can brainstorm…. Okay. Transfer me back to Andrea… ” He waits, staring out of the window, master of his universe, staring down at the little people below from this castle in the sky. “Andrea… ”
Glancing up, he notices me at the door. A slow, sexy smile spreads across his beautiful face, and I’m rendered speechless as my insides melt. He is without a doubt the most beautiful man on the planet, too beautiful for the little people below, too beautiful for me. No my inner goddess scowls at me, not too beautiful for me. He is sort of mine, for now. The idea sends a thrill through my blood and dispels my irrational self-doubt.
He continues his conversation, his eyes never leaving mine.
“Clear my schedule this morning, but get Bill to call me. I’ll be in at two. I need to talk to Marco this afternoon, that will need at least half an hour… Schedule Barney and his
team in after Marco or maybe tomorrow, and find time for me to see Claude everyday this week… Tell him to wait… Oh… No, I don’t want publicity for Darfur… Tell Sam to deal with it… No…. Which event?… That’s next Saturday?… Hold on.”
“When will you be back from Georgia?” he asks.
He resumes his phone conversation.
“I’ll need an extra ticket because I have a date… Yes Andrea, that’s what I said, a date, Miss Anastasia Steele will accompany me… That’s all.” He hangs up. “Good morning, Miss Steele.”
“Mr. Grey,” I smile shyly.
He walks around his desk with his usual grace and stands in front of me. He smells so good; clean and freshly laundered, so Christian. He gently strokes my cheek with the back of his fingers.
“I didn’t want to wake you, you looked so peaceful. Did you sleep well?”
“I am very well-rested, thank you. I just came to say hi before I had a shower.”
I gaze up at him, drinking him in. He leans down and gently kisses me, and I can’t help myself. I throw my arms around his neck and my fingers twist in his still damp hair. Pushing my body flush against his, I kiss him back. I want him. My attack takes him by surprise, but after a beat, he responds, a low groan in his throat. His hands slip into my hair and down my back to cup my naked behind, his tongue exploring my mouth. He pulls back, his eyes hooded.
“Well, sleep seems to agree with you,” he murmurs. “I suggest you go and have your shower, or I shall lay you across my desk, now.”
“I choose the desk,” I whisper recklessly as desire sweeps like adrenaline through my system, waking everything in its path.
He stares bewildered down at me for a millisecond.
“You’ve really got a taste for this, haven’t you, Miss Steele. You’re becoming insatiable,” he murmurs.
“I’ve only got a taste for you,” I whisper.
His eyes widen and darken while his hands knead my naked backside.
“Damn right, only me,” he growls, and suddenly with one fluid movement, he clears all the plans and papers off his desk so that they scatter on the floor, sweeps me up in his arms, and lays me down across the short end of his desk so that my head is almost off the edge.
“You want it, you got it, baby,” he mutters, producing a foil packet from his pants pocket while he unzips his pants. Oh Mr. Boy Scout. He rolls the condom over his erection and gazes down at me. “I sure hope you’re ready,” he breathes, a salacious smile across his face. And in a moment, he’s filling me, holding my wrists tightly by my side, and thrusting into me deeply.
I groan… oh yes.
“Christ, Ana. You’re so ready,” he whispers in veneration.
Wrapping my legs around his waist, I hold him the only way I can as he stays standing, staring down at me, gray eyes glowing, passionate and possessive. He starts to move, really move. This is not making love, this is fucking – and I love it. I groan. It’s so raw, so carnal, making me so wanton. I revel in his possession, his lust slaking mine. He moves
with ease, luxuriating in me, enjoying me, his lips slightly parted as his breathing increases. He twists his hips from side to side, and the feeling is exquisite.
Oh my. I close my eyes, feeling the build up – that delicious, slow, step climbing build. Pushing me higher, higher to the castle in the air. Oh yes… his stroke increasing fractionally. I moan loudly. I am all sensation… all him, enjoying every thrust, every push that fills me. And he picks up the pace, thrusting faster… harder… and my whole body is moving to his rhythm, and I can feel my legs stiffening, and my insides quivering and quickening.
“Come on, baby, give it up for me,” he cajoles through gritted teeth – and the fervent need in his voice – the strain – sends me over the edge.
I cry out a wordless, passionate plea as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, back to a breathless, bright summit on Earth. He slams into me and stops abruptly as he reaches his climax, pulling at my wrists, and sinking gracefully and wordlessly onto me.
Wow… that was unexpected. I slowly materialize back on Earth.
“What the hell are you doing to me?” he breathes as he nuzzles my neck. “You completely beguile me, Ana. You weave some powerful magic.”
He releases my wrists, and I run my fingers through his hair, coming down from my high. I tighten my legs around him.
“I’m the one beguiled,” I whisper.
He looks up, gazing at me, his expression is disconcerted, alarmed even. Placing his hands on either side of my face, he holds my head in place.
“You. Are. Mine,” he says, each word a staccato. “Do you understand?”
He’s so earnest, so impassioned – a zealot. The force of his plea is so unexpected and disarming. I wonder why he’s feeling like this.
“Yes, yours,” I whisper, derailed by his fervor.
“Are you sure you have to go to Georgia?”
I nod slowly. And in that brief moment, I can see his expression change and the shutters coming down. Abruptly he withdraws, making me wince.
“Are you sore?” he asks, leaning over me.
“A little,” I confess.
“I like you sore.” His eyes smolder. “Reminds you where I’ve been, and only me.”
He grabs my chin and kisses me roughly, then stands and holds his hand out to help me up. I glance down at the foil packet beside me.
“Always prepared,” I murmur.
He looks at me confused as he redoes his fly. I hold up the empty packet.
“A man can hope, Anastasia, dream even, and sometimes his dreams come true.”
He sounds so odd, his eyes burning. I just don’t understand. My post coital glow is fading fast. What is his problem?
“So, on your desk, that’s been a dream?” I ask dryly, trying humor to lighten the atmosphere between us.
He smiles an enigmatic smile that doesn’t reach his eyes, and I know immediately this is not the first time he’s had sex on his desk. The thought is unwelcome. I squirm uncomfortably as my post coital glow evaporates.
“I’d better go and have a shower.” I stand and make to move past him.
He frowns and runs a hand through his hair.
“I’ve got a couple more calls to make. I’ll join you for breakfast once you’re out of the shower. I think Mrs. Jones has laundered your clothes from yesterday. They’re in the closet.”
What? When the hell did she do that? Jeez, could she hear us? I flush.
“Thank you,” I mutter.
“You’re most welcome,” he replies automatically, but there’s an edge to his voice.
I’m not saying thank you for fucking me. Although, it was very…
“What?” he asks, and I realize I’m frowning.
“What’s wrong?” I ask softly.
“What do you mean?”
“Well… you’re being more weird than usual.”
“You find me weird?” He tries to stifle a smile.
I blush.
He regards me for a moment, his eyes speculative.
“As ever, I’m surprised by you, Miss Steele.”
“Surprised how?”
“Let’s just say that was an unexpected treat.”
“We aim to please, Mr. Grey.” I cock my head to one side like he often does to me and give his words back to him.
“And please me you do,” he says, but he looks uneasy. “I thought you were going to have a shower.”
Oh, he’s dismissing me.
“Yes… um, I’ll see you in a moment.” I scurry out of his office completely dumbfounded.
He seemed confused. Why? I have to say as physical experiences go, that was very satisfying. But emotionally – well, I’m rattled by his reaction, and that was about as emotionally enriching as cotton candy is nutritious.
Mrs. Jones is still in the kitchen.
“Would you like your tea now, Miss Steele?”
“I’ll have a shower first, thank you,” I mutter and take my blazing face quickly out of the room.
In the shower, I try to figure out what’s up with Christian. He is the most complicated person I know, and I cannot understand his ever-changing moods. He seemed fine when I went into his study. We had sex… and then he wasn’t. No, I don’t get it. I look to my subconscious. She’s whistling with her hands behind her back and looking anywhere but at me. She hasn’t got a clue, and my inner goddess is still basking in a remnant of post-coital glow. No – we’re all clueless.
I towel-dry my hair, comb it through with Christian’s one and only hair implement, and put my hair up in bun. Kate’s plum dress hangs laundered and ironed in the closet along with my clean bra and panties. Mrs. Jones is a marvel. Slipping on Kate’s shoes, I straighten my dress, take a deep breath, and head back out to the great room.
Christian is still nowhere to be seen, and Mrs. Jones is checking the contents of the pantry.
“Tea now, Miss Steele?” she asks.
“Please.” I smile at her. I feel slightly more confident now that I’m dressed.
“Would you like something to eat?”
“No, thank you.”
“Of course you’ll have something to eat,” Christian snaps, glowering. “She likes pancakes, bacon, and eggs, Mrs. Jones.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey. What would you like, sir?”
“Omelet, please, and some fruit.” He doesn’t take his eyes off me, his expression unfathomable. “Sit,” he orders, pointing to one of the bar stools.
I oblige, and he sits beside me while Mrs. Jones busies herself with breakfast. Gosh, it’s unnerving having someone else listen to our conversation.
“Have you bought your air ticket?”
“No, I’ll buy it when I get home – over the Internet.”
He leans on his elbow, rubbing his chin.
“Do you have the money?”
Oh no.
“Yes,” I say with mock patience as if I’m talking to a small child.
He raises a censorious eyebrow at me. Crap.
“Yes, I do, thank you,” I amend rapidly.
“I have a jet. It’s not scheduled to be used for three days, it’s at your disposal.”
I gape at him. Of course he has a jet, and I have to resist my body’s natural inclination to roll my eyes at him. I want to laugh. But I don’t, as I can’t read his mood.
“We’ve already made serious misuse of your company’s aviation fleet. I wouldn’t want to do it again.”
“It’s my company, it’s my jet.” He sounds almost wounded. Oh, boys and their toys!
“Thank you for the offer. But I’d be happier taking a scheduled flight.”
He looks like he wants to argue further but decides against it.
“As you wish,” he sighs. “Do you have much preparation to do for your interview?”
“Good. You’re still not going to tell me which publishing houses?”
His lips curl up in a reluctant smile.
“I am a man of means, Miss Steele.”
“I am fully aware of that, Mr. Grey. Are you going to track my phone?” I ask innocently.
“Actually, I’ll be quite busy this afternoon, so I’ll have to get someone else to do it.” He smirks.
Is he joking?
“If you can spare someone to do that, you’re obviously overstaffed.”
“I’ll send an email to the head of human resources and have her look into our head count.” His lips twitch to hide his smile.
Oh thank the Lord, he’s recovered his sense of humor.
Mrs. Jones serves us breakfast and we eat quietly for a few moments. After clearing the pans, tactfully, she heads out of the living area. I peek up at him.
“What it is, Anastasia?”
“You know, you never did tell me why you don’t like to be touched.”
He blanches, and his reaction makes me feel guilty for asking.
“I’ve told you more than I’ve ever told anybody.” His voice is quiet as he gazes at me impassively.
And it’s clear to me that he’s never confided in anyone. Doesn’t he have any close friends? Perhaps he told Mrs. Robinson? I want to ask him, but I can’t – I can’t pry that invasively. I shake my head at the realization. He really is an island.
“Will you think about our arrangement while you’re away?” he asks.
“Will you miss me?”
I gaze at him, surprised by his question.
“Yes,” I answer honestly.
How could he mean so much to me in such a short time? He’s got right under my skin… literally. He smiles and his eyes light up.
“I’ll miss you too. More than you know,” he breathes.
My heart warms at his words. He really is trying, hard. He gently strokes my cheek, bends down, and kisses me softly.
It is late afternoon, and I sit nervous and fidgeting in the lobby waiting for Mr. J. Hyde of Seattle Independent Publishing. This is my second interview today, and the one I’m most anxious about. My first interview went well, but it was for a larger conglomerate with offices based throughout the US, and I would be one of many editorial assistants there. I can imagine being swallowed up and spat out pretty quickly in such a corporate machine. SIP is where I want to be. It’s small and unconventional, championing local authors, and has an interesting and quirky roster of clients.
My surroundings are sparse, but I think it’s a design statement rather than frugality. I am seated on one of two dark green chesterfield couches made of leather – not unlike the couch that Christian has in his playroom. I stroke the leather appreciatively and wonder idly what Christian does on that couch. My mind wanders as I think of the possibilities… no – I must not go there now. I flush at my wayward and inappropriate thoughts. The receptionist is a young African-American woman with large silver earrings and long straightened hair. She has a bohemian look about her, the sort of woman I could be friendly with. The thought is comforting. Every few moments, she glances at up me, away from her computer and smiles reassuringly. I tentatively return her smile.
My flight is booked; my mother is in seventh heaven that I am visiting; I am packed, and Kate has agreed to drive me to the airport. Christian has ordered me to take my BlackBerry and the Mac. I roll my eyes at the memory of his overbearing bossiness, but I realize now that’s just the way he is. He likes control over everything, including me. Yet he’s so unpredictably and disarmingly agreeable too. He can be tender, good-humored, even sweet. And when he is, it’s so left field and unexpected. He insisted on accompanying me all the way down to my car in the garage. Jeez, I’m only going for a few days, he’s acting like I’m going for weeks. He keeps me on the back foot permanently.
“Ana Steele?” A woman with long, black, pre-Raphaelite hair standing by the reception desk distracts me from my introspection. She has the same bohemian, floaty look as the receptionist. She could be in her late thirties, maybe in her forties. It’s so difficult to tell with older women.
“Yes,” I reply, standing awkwardly.
She gives me a polite smile, her cool hazel eyes assessing me. I am wearing one of Kate’s dresses, a black pinafore over a white blouse, and my black pumps. Very interview, I think. My hair is restrained in a ponytail, and for once the tendrils are behaving themselves… she holds her hand out to me.
“Hello, Ana, my name’s Elizabeth Morgan. I’m head of Human Resources here at SIP.”
“How do you do?” I shake her hand. She looks very casual to be the head of HR.
“Please follow me.”
We go through the double doors behind the reception area, into a large brightly decorated open plan office, and from there, head into a small meeting room. The walls are pale green, lined with pictures of book covers. At the head of the Maplewood conference table sits a young man with red hair tied in a ponytail. Small, silver, hooped earrings glint in both his ears. He wears a pale blue shirt, no tie, and grey flannel trousers. As I approach him, he stands and gazes at me with fathomless dark blue eyes.
“Ana Steele, I’m Jack Hyde, the commissioning editor here at SIP, and I’m very pleased to meet you.”
We shake hands, and his dark expression is unreadable, though friendly enough, I think.
“Have you traveled far?” he asks pleasantly.
“No, I’ve recently moved to the Pike Street Market area.”
“Oh, not far at all then. Please, take a seat.”
I sit, and Elizabeth takes a seat beside him.
“So why would you like to intern for us at SIP, Ana?” he asks.
He says my name softly and cocks his head to one side, like someone I know – it’s unnerving. Doing my best to ignore the irrational wariness he inspires, I launch into my carefully prepared speech, conscious that a rosy flush is spreading across my cheeks. I look at both of them, remembering The Katherine Kavanagh Successful Interviewing Technique lecture – maintain eye contact, Ana! Boy, that woman can be bossy too, sometimes. Jack and Elizabeth both listen attentively.
“You have a very impressive GPA. What extra-curricular activities did you indulge in at WSU?”
Indulge? I blink at him. What an odd choice of word. I launch into details of my librarianship at the campus central library, and my one experience of interviewing an obscenely rich despot for the student magazine. I gloss over the part that I didn’t actually write the article. I mention the two literary societies that I belonged to and conclude with working at Clayton’s and all the useless knowledge I now possess about hardware and DIY. They both laugh, which is the response I’d hoped for. Slowly, I relax and begin to enjoy myself.
Jack Hyde asks sharp, intelligent questions, but I’m not thrown – I keep up, and when we discuss my reading preferences and my favorite books, I think I hold my own. Jack, on the other hand, appears to only favor American literature written after 1950. Nothing else. No classics – not even Henry James or Upton Sinclair or F Scott Fitzgerald. Elizabeth says nothing, just nods occasionally and takes notes. Jack, though argumentative, is charming in his way, and my initial wariness dissipates the longer we talk.
“And where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” he asks.
With Christian Grey, the thought comes involuntarily into my head. My errant mind makes me frown.
“Copy editing perhaps? Maybe a literary agent, I’m not sure. I am open to opportunities.”
He grins.
“Very good, Ana. I don’t have any further questions. Do you?” he directs his question at me.
“When would you like someone to start?” I ask.
“As soon as possible,” Elizabeth pipes up. “When could you start?”
“I’m available from next week.”
“That’s good to know,” Jack says.
“If that’s all anyone has to say,” Elizabeth glances at the two of us, “I think that concludes the interview.” She smiles kindly.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Ana,” Jack says softly as he takes my hand. He squeezes it gently, so that I blink up at him as I say goodbye.
I feel unsettled as I make my way to my car, though I’m not sure why. I think the interview went well, but it’s so hard to say. Interviews seem such artificial situations, everyone on their best behavior trying desperately to hide behind a professional façade. Did my face fit? I shall have to wait and see.
I climb into my Audi A3 and head back to the apartment, though I take me time. I’m on the red-eye with a stopover in Atlanta, but my flight doesn’t leave until 10:25 this evening, so I have plenty of time.
Kate is unpacking boxes in the kitchen when I return.
“How did they go?” she asks, excited. Only Kate can look gorgeous in an oversized shirt, tattered jeans, and a dark blue bandana.
“Good, thanks, Kate. Not sure this outfit was cool enough for the second interview.”
“Boho chic might have done it.”
Kate raises an eyebrow.
“You and boho chic.” She cocks her head to one side – Gah! Why is everyone reminding me of my favorite Fifty Shades? “Actually, Ana, you’re one of the few people who could really pull that look off.”
I grin.
“I really liked the second place. I think I could fit in there. The guy who interviewed me was unnerving though,” I trail off – shit I’m talking to foghorn Kavanagh here. Shut up Ana!
“Oh?” The Katherine Kavanagh radar for an interesting tidbit of information swoops into action – a tidbit that will only resurface at some inopportune and embarrassing moment, which reminds me.
“Incidentally – will you please stop winding Christian up? Your comment about José at dinner yesterday was out of line. He’s a jealous guy. It doesn’t do any good, you know.”
“Look, if he wasn’t Elliot’s brother I’d have said a lot worse. He’s a real control freak. I don’t know how you stand it. I was trying to make him jealous – give him a little help with his commitment issues.” She holds her hands up defensively. “But – if you don’t want me to interfere, I won’t,” she says hastily at my scowl.
“Good. Life with Christian is complicated enough, trust me.”
Jeez, I sound like him.
“Ana,” she pauses staring at me. “You’re okay, aren’t you? You’re not running to your mother’s to escape?”
I flush.
“No Kate. It was you who said I needed a break.”
She closes the distance between us and takes my hands – a most un-Kate thing to do. Oh no… tears threaten.
“You’re just, I don’t know… different. I hope you’re okay, and whatever issues you’re having with Mr. Moneybags, you can talk to me. And I will try not to wind him up, though frankly it’s like shooting fish in a barrel with him. Look, Ana, if something’s wrong, you will tell me, I won’t judge. I’ll try to understand.”
I blink back tears.
“Oh, Kate.” I hug her. “I think I’ve really fallen for him.”
“Ana, anyone can see that. And he’s fallen for you. He’s mad about you. Won’t take his eyes off you.”
I laugh uncertainly.
“Do you think so?”
“Hasn’t he told you?”
“Not in so many words.”
“Have you told him?”
“Not in so many words.” I shrug apologetically.
“Ana! Someone has to make the first move, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.”
What… tell him how I feel?
“I’m just afraid I’ll frighten him away.”
“And how do you know he’s not feeling the same?”
“Christian, afraid? I can’t imagine him being frightened of anything.” But as I say the words, I imagine him as a small child. Maybe fear was all he knew then. Sorrow grips and squeezes my heart at the thought.
Kate gazes at me with pursed lips and narrowed eyes, rather like my subconscious – all she needs is the half-moon specs.
“You two need to sit down and talk to each other.”
“We haven’t been doing much talking lately.” I flush. Other stuff. Non-verbal communication and that’s okay. Well, much more than okay.
She grins.
“That’ll be the sexing! If that’s going well, then that’s half the battle Ana. I’ll grab some Chinese take-out. Are you ready to go?”
“I will be – we don’t have to leave for a couple of hours or so.”
“No – I’ll see you in twenty.” She grabs her jacket and leaves, forgetting to close the door. I shut it behind her and head off to my bedroom mulling over her words.
Is Christian afraid of his feelings for me? Does he even have feelings for me? He seems very keen, says I’m his – but that’s just part of his I-must-own-and-have-everything-now – control-freak dominant self, surely. I realize that while I’m away, I will have to run through all our conversations again and see if I can pick out telltale signs.
I’ll miss you too… more than you know…
You’ve completely beguiled me…
I shake my head. I don’t want to think about it now. I am charging the BlackBerry, so I haven’t had it with me all afternoon. I approach it with caution, and I’m disappointed that there are no messages. I switch on the mean machine, and there are no messages there either. Same email address Ana – my subconscious rolls her eyes at me, and for the first time, I understand why Christian wants to spank me when I do that.
Okay. Well, I’ll write him an email.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Interviews
Date: May 30 2011 18:49
To: Christian Grey
Dear Sir
My interviews went well today.
Thought you might be interested.
How was your day?
I sit and glare at the screen. Christian’s responses are usually instantaneous. I wait… and wait, and finally I hear the welcome ping from my inbox.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: My day
Date: May 30 2011 19:03
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
Everything you do interests me, you are the most fascinating woman I know.
I’m glad your interviews went well.
My morning was beyond all expectations.
My afternoon was very dull in comparison.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Fine Morning
Date: May 30 2011 19:05
To: Christian Grey
Dear Sir
The morning was exemplary for me too, in spite of you weirding out on me after the impeccable desk sex. Don’t think I didn’t notice.
Thank you for breakfast. Or thank Mrs. Jones.
I’d like to ask you questions about her – without you weirding out on me again.
My finger hovers over the send button, and I am reassured that I’ll be on the other side of the continent this time tomorrow.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Publishing and You?
Date: May 30 2011 19:10
To: Anastasia Steele
‘Weirding’ is not a verb and should not be used by anyone who wants to go into publishing. Impeccable? Compared to what, pray tell? And what do you need to ask about Mrs. Jones? I’m intrigued.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: You and Mrs. Jones
Date: May 30 2011 19:17
To: Christian Grey
Dear Sir
Language evolves and moves on. It is an organic thing. It is not stuck in an ivory tower, hung with expensive works of art and overlooking most of Seattle with a helipad stuck on its roof.
Impeccable – compared to the other times we have… what’s your word… oh yes… fucked. Actually the fucking has been pretty impeccable, period, in my humble opinion – but then as you know I have very limited experience.
Is Mrs. Jones an ex-sub of yours?
My finger hovers once more over the send button, and I press it.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Language. Watch Your Mouth!
Date: May 30 2011 19:22
To: Anastasia Steele
Mrs. Jones is a valued employee. I have never had any relationship with her beyond our professional one. I do not employ anyone I’ve had any sexual relations with. I am shocked that you would think so. The only person I would make an exception to this rule is you – because you are a bright young woman with remarkable negotiating skills. Though, if you continue to use such language, I may have to reconsider taking you on here. I am glad you have limited experience. Your experience will continue to be limited – just to me. I shall take impeccable as a compliment – though with you, I’m never sure if that’s what you mean, or if your sense of irony is getting the better of you – as usual.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. From His Ivory Tower
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Not for all the Tea in China
Date: May 30 2011 19:27
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
I think I have already expressed my reservations about working for your company. My views on this have not changed, are not changing, and will not change, ever. I must leave you now as Kate has returned with food. My sense of irony and I, bid you goodnight.
I will contact you once I’m in Georgia.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Even Twinings English Breakfast Tea?
Date: May 30 2011 19:29
To: Anastasia Steele
Goodnight Anastasia.
I hope you and your sense of irony have a safe flight.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Kate and I pull up outside the drop-off area at Sea-Tac Airport terminal. Leaning across, she hugs me.
“Enjoy Barbados, Kate. Have a wonderful holiday.”
“I’ll see you when I get back. Don’t let old moneybags grind you down.”
“I won’t.”
We hug again – and then I’m on my own. I head over to check-in and stand in line, waiting with my carry-on luggage. I haven’t bothered with a suitcase, just a smart rucksack that Ray gave me for my last birthday.
“Ticket please?” The bored young man behind the desk holds up his hand without looking at me.
Mirroring his boredom, I hand over my ticket and my driver’s license as ID. I am hoping for a window seat if at all possible.
“Okay, Miss Steele. You’ve been upgraded to first class.”
“Ma’am, if you’d like to go through to the first class lounge and await your flight there.” He seems to have woken up and is beaming at me like I’m the Christmas Fairy and the Easter Bunny rolled into one.
“Surely there’s some mistake.”
“No, no.” He checks his computer screen again. “Anastasia Steele – upgrade.” He simpers at me.
Ugh. I narrow my eyes. He hands me my boarding pass, and I head towards the first class lounge muttering under my breath. Damn Christian Grey, interfering control freak – he just can’t leave well enough alone.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 20 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 20


Christian bursts through the wooden door of the boathouse and pauses to flick on some lights. Fluorescents ping and buzz in sequence as harsh white light floods the large wooden building. From my upside-down view, I can see an impressive motor launch in the dock floating gently on the dark water, but I only get a brief look before he’s carrying me up some wooden stairs to the room above.
He pauses at the doorway and touches another switch – halogens this time, they are softer, on a dimmer – and we’re in an attic room with sloping ceilings. It’s decorated with a nautical New England theme: navy blues and creams with a dash of red. The furnishings are sparse, just a couple of couches are all I can see.
Christian sets me on my feet on the wooden floor. I don’t have time to examine my surroundings – my eyes can’t leave him. I am mesmerized… watching him like one would watch a rare and dangerous predator, waiting for him to strike. His breathing is harsh but then he’s just carried me across the lawn and up a flight of stairs. Gray eyes blaze with anger, need, and pure unadulterated lust.
Holy shit. I could spontaneously combust from his look alone.
“Please don’t hit me,” I whisper, pleading.
His brow furrows, his eyes widening. He blinks twice.
“I don’t want you to spank me, not here, not now. Please don’t.”
His mouth drops open slightly in surprise, and beyond brave, I tentatively reach up and run my fingers down his cheek, along the edge of his sideburn, to the stubble on his chin. It’s a curious mixture of soft and prickly. Slowly closing his eyes, he leans his face into my touch, and his breath hitches in his throat. Reaching up with my other hand, I run my fingers into his hair. I love his hair. His soft moan is barely audible, and when he opens his eyes, his look is – wary, like he doesn’t understand what I’m doing.
Stepping forward so I am flush against him, I pull gently on his hair, bringing his mouth down to mine, and I kiss him, forcing my tongue between his lips and into his mouth. He groans, and his arms embrace me, pulling me to him. His hands find their way into my hair, and he kisses me back, hard and possessive. His tongue and my tongue twist and turn together, consuming each other. He tastes divine.
He pulls back suddenly, our collective breathing ragged and mingling. My hands drop to his arms and he glares down at me.
“What are you doing to me?” he whispers confused.
“Kissing you.”
“You said no.”
“What?” No to what?
“At the dinner table, with your legs.”
Oh… that’s what this is all about.
“But we were at your parents’ dining table.” I stare up at him, completely bewildered.
“No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so – hot.”
His eyes widen slightly, filled with wonder and lust. It’s a heady mix. I swallow instinctively. His hand moves down to my behind. He pulls me sharply against him, and I can feel his erection.
Oh my…
“You’re mad and turned on because I said no?” I breathe, astonished.
“I’m mad because you never mentioned Georgia to me. I’m mad because you went drinking with that guy who tried to seduce you when you were drunk and who left you when you were ill with an almost complete stranger. What kind of friend does that? And I’m mad and aroused because you closed your legs on me.” His eyes glitter dangerously, and he’s slowly inching up the hem of my dress.
“I want you, and I want you now. And if you’re not going to let me spank you – which you deserve – I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours.”
My dress is now barely covering my naked behind. He moves suddenly so that his hand is cupping my sex, and one of his fingers sinks slowly into me. His other arm holds me firmly in place around my waist. I suppress my moan.
“This is mine,” he whispers aggressively. “All mine. Do you understand?” He eases his finger in and out as he gazes down at me, gauging my reaction, his eyes burning.
“Yes, yours,” I breathe as my desire, hot and heavy, surges through my bloodstream, affecting… everything. My nerve endings, my breathing, my heart is pounding, trying to leave my chest, the blood thrumming in my ears.
Abruptly, he moves, doing several things at once. Withdrawing his fingers, leaving me wanting, unzipping his fly, and pushing me down onto the couch so he’s lying on top of me.
“Hands on your head,” he commands through gritted teeth as he kneels up, forcing my legs wider, and reaching into the inside pocket of his jacket. He takes out a foil packet, gazing down at me, his expression dark, before shrugging off his jacket so it falls to the floor. He rolls the condom down over his impressive length.
I place my hands on my head, and I know it’s so I won’t touch him. I’m so turned on. I feel my hips moving already up to meet him – wanting him inside me, like this – rough and hard. Oh… the anticipation.
“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand? Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.
Holy crap… how do I stop?
With one swift thrust, he’s fully inside me. I groan loudly, gutturally, and revel in the fullness of his possession. He puts his hands on mine on top of my head, his elbows hold my arms out and down, and his legs pinion me. I am trapped. He’s everywhere, overwhelming me, almost suffocating. But it’s heavenly too, this is my power, this is what I do to him, and it’s a hedonistic, triumphant feeling. He moves quickly and furiously inside me, his breathing harsh at my ear, and my body responds, melting around him. I mustn’t come. No. But I’m meeting him thrust for thrust, a perfect counterpoint. Abruptly, and all too soon, he rams into me and stills as he finds his release, air hissing through his teeth. He relaxes momentarily, so I feel his entire, delicious weight on me. I’m not ready to let him go, my body craving relief, but he’s so heavy, and in that moment, I can’t push against him. All of a sudden, he withdraws, leaving me aching and hungry for more. He glares down at me.
“Don’t touch yourself. I want you frustrated. That’s what you do to me by not talking to me, by denying me what’s mine.” His eyes blaze anew, angry again.
I nod, panting. He stands and removes the condom, knotting it at the end, and puts it in his pants pocket. I gaze at him, my breathing still erratic, and involuntarily I squeeze my thighs together, trying to find some relief. Christian does up his fly and runs his hand through his hair as he reaches down to collect his jacket. He turns back to gaze down at me, his expression softer.
“We’d better get back to the house.”
I sit up, a little unsteadily, dazed.
“Here. You may put these on.”
From his inside pocket, he produces my panties. I don’t grin as I take them from him, but inside I know – I’ve taken a punishment fuck but gained a small victory over the panties. My inner goddess nods in agreement, a satisfied grin over her face – You didn’t have to ask for them.
“CHRISTIAN!” Mia shouts from the floor below.
He turns and raises his eyebrows at me.
“Just in time. Christ, she can be really irritating.”
I scowl back at him, hastily restore my panties to their rightful place, and stand with as much dignity as I can muster in my just-fucked state. Quickly, I attempt to smooth my just-fucked hair.
“Up here, Mia,” he calls down. “Well, Miss Steele, I feel better for that – but I still want to spank you,” he says softly.
“I don’t believe I deserve it Mr. Grey, especially after tolerating your unprovoked attack.”
“Unprovoked? You kissed me.” He tries his best to look wounded.
I purse my lips.
“It was attack as the best form of defense.”
“Defense against what?”
“You and your twitchy palm.”
He cocks his head to one side and smiles at me as Mia comes clattering up the stairs.
“But it was tolerable?” he asks softly.
I flush.
“Barely,” I whisper, but I can’t help my smirk.
“Oh, there you are.” She beams at us.
“I was showing Anastasia around.” Christian holds his hand out to me, his gray eyes intense.
I put my hand into his, and he gives it a soft squeeze.
“Kate and Elliot are about to leave. Can you believe those two? They can’t keep their hands off each other.” Mia feigns disgust and looks from Christian to me. “What have you been doing in here?”
Jeez, she’s forward. I blush scarlet.
“Showing Anastasia my rowing trophies,” Christian says without missing a beat, completely poker-faced. “Let’s go say goodbye to Kate and Elliot.”
Rowing trophies? He pulls me gently in front of him, and as Mia turns to go, he swats my behind. I gasp in surprise.
“I will do it again, Anastasia, and soon,” he threatens quietly close to my ear, then he pulls me into an embrace, my back to his front, and kisses my hair.
Back in the house, Kate and Elliot are making their farewells to Grace and Mr. Grey. Kate hugs me hard.
“I need to speak to you about antagonizing Christian,” I hiss quietly in her ear as she embraces me.
“He needs antagonizing, then you can see what he’s really like. Be careful, Ana – he’s so controlling,” she whispers. “See you later.”
I KNOW WHAT HE’S REALLY LIKE – YOU DON’T! – I scream at her in my head. I’m fully aware that her actions come from a good place, but sometimes she just oversteps the mark, and right now so far that she’s into the neighboring state. I scowl at her, and she pokes her tongue out at me, making me smile unwillingly. Playful Kate is novel, must be Elliot’s influence. We wave them off at the doorway, and Christian turns to me.
“We should go too – you have interviews tomorrow.”
Mia embraces me warmly as we say our goodbyes.
“We never thought he’d find anyone!” she gushes.
I flush, and Christian rolls his eyes again. I purse my lips. Why can he do that when I can’t? I want to roll my eyes back at him, but I do not dare, not after his threat in the boathouse.
“Take care of yourself, Ana, dear,” Grace says kindly.
Christian, embarrassed or frustrated by the lavish attention I’m receiving from the remaining Greys, grabs my hand and pulls me to his side.
“Let’s not frighten her away or spoil her with too much affection,” he grumbles.
“Christian, stop teasing.” Grace scolds him indulgently, her eyes glowing with love and affection for him.
Somehow, I don’t think he’s teasing. I surreptitiously watch their interaction. It’s obvious Grace adores him with a mother’s unconditional love. He bends and kisses her stiffly.
“Mom,” he says, and there’s an undercurrent in his voice – reverence maybe?
“Mr. Grey – goodbye and thank you.” I hold out my hand to him, and he hugs me too!
“Please, call me Carrick. I do hope we see you again, very soon, Ana.”
Our farewells said, Christian leads me to the car where Taylor is waiting. Has he been waiting here the whole time? Taylor opens my door, and I slide into the back of the Audi.
I feel some of the tension leaving my shoulders. Jeez, what a day. I am exhausted, physically and emotionally. After a brief conversation with Taylor, Christian clambers into the car beside me. He turns to face me.
“Well, it seems my family likes you, too,” he murmurs.
Too? The depressing thought about how I came to be invited pops unbidden and very unwelcome into my head. Taylor starts the car and heads away from the circle of light in the driveway to the darkness of the road. I gaze at Christian, and he’s staring at me.
“What?” he asks, his voice quiet.
I flounder momentarily. No – I’ll tell him. He’s always complaining that I don’t talk to him.
“I think that you felt trapped into bringing me to meet your parents.” My voice is soft and hesitant. “If Elliot hadn’t asked Kate, you’d never have asked me.” I can’t see his face in the dark, but he tilts his head, gaping at me.
“Anastasia, I’m delighted that you’ve met my parents. Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me. You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself. If I hadn’t wanted you to meet them, you wouldn’t be here. Is that how you were feeling the whole time you were there?”
Oh! He wanted me there – and it’s a revelation. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable answering me as he would if he were hiding the truth. He seems genuinely pleased that I’m here… a warm glow spreads slowly through my veins. He shakes his head and reaches for my hand. I glance nervously at Taylor.
“Don’t worry about Taylor. Talk to me.”
I shrug.
“Yes. I thought that. And another thing, I only mentioned Georgia because Kate was talking about Barbados – I haven’t made up my mind.”
“Do you want to go and see your mother?”
He looks oddly at me, like he’s having some internal struggle.
“Can I come with you?” he asks eventually.
“Erm… I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Why not?”
“I was hoping for a break from all this… intensity to try and think things through.”
He stares at me.
“I’m too intense?”
I burst out laughing.
“That’s putting it mildly!”
In the light of the passing street lamps, I see his lips quirk up.
“Are you laughing at me, Miss Steele?”
“I wouldn’t dare, Mr. Grey,” I reply with mock seriousness.
“I think you dare, and I think you do laugh at me, frequently.”
“You are quite funny.”
“Oh yes.”
“Funny peculiar or funny ha ha?”
“Oh… a lot of one and some of the other.”
“Which way round?”
“I’ll leave you to figure that out.”
“I’m not sure if I can figure anything out around you, Anastasia,” he says sardonically, and then continues quietly, “What do you need to think about in Georgia?”
“Us,” I whisper.
He stares at me, impassive.
“You said you’d try,” he murmurs.
“I know.”
“Are you having second thoughts?”
He shifts as if uncomfortable.
Holy crap. How did this suddenly become such an intense and meaningful conversation? It’s been sprung on me, like an exam that I’m not prepared for. What do I say? Because I think I love you, and you just see me as a toy. Because I can’t touch you, because I’m too frightened to show you any affection in case you flinch or tell me off or worse – beat me? What can I say?
I stare momentarily out of the window. The car is heading back across the bridge. We are both shrouded in darkness, masking our thoughts and feelings, but we don’t need the night for that.
“Why, Anastasia?” Christian presses me for an answer.
I shrug, trapped. I don’t want to lose him. In spite of all his demands, his need to control, his scary vices. I have never felt as alive as I do now. It’s a thrill to be sitting here beside him. He’s so unpredictable, sexy, smart, and funny. But his moods… oh – and he wants to hurt me. He says he’ll think about my reservations, but it still scares me. I close my eyes. What can I say? Deep down I would just like more, more affection, more playful Christian, more… love.
He squeezes my hand.
“Talk to me, Anastasia. I don’t want to lose you. This last week… ” He trails off.
We’re coming near to the end of the bridge, and the road is once more bathed in the neon light of the street lamps so his face is intermittently in the light and the dark. And it’s such a fitting metaphor. This man, whom I once thought of as a romantic hero – a brave shining white knight, or the dark knight as he said. He’s not a hero, he’s a man with serious, deep emotional flaws, and he’s dragging me into the dark. Can I not guide him into the light?
“I still want more,” I whisper.
“I know,” he says. “I’ll try.”
I blink up at him, and he relinquishes my hand and pulls at my chin, releasing my trapped lip.
“For you, Anastasia, I will try.” He’s radiating sincerity.
And that’s my cue. I unbuckle my seatbelt, reach across, and clamber into his lap, taking him completely by surprise. Wrapping my arms around his head, I kiss him, long and hard, and in a nanosecond, he’s responding.
“Stay with me, tonight,” he breathes. “If you go away, I won’t see you all week. Please.”
“Yes,” I acquiesce. “And I’ll try too. I’ll sign your contract.” And it’s a spur of the moment decision.
He gazes down at me.
“Sign after Georgia. Think about it. Think about it hard, baby.”
“I will.” And we sit in silence for a mile or two.
“You really should wear your seatbelt,” Christian whispers disapprovingly into my hair, but he makes no move to shift me from his lap.
I nuzzle up against him, eyes closed, my nose at his throat, drinking in his sexy Christian-and-spiced-musky-body-wash fragrance, my head on his shoulder. I let my mind drift, and I allow myself to fantasize that he loves me. Oh, and it’s so real, tangible almost, and a small part of my nasty harpy self-conscious acts completely out of character and dares to hope. I’m careful not to touch his chest but just snuggle in his arms as he holds me tightly.
All too soon, I’m torn from my impossible daydream.
“We’re home,” Christian murmurs, and it’s such a tantalizing sentence, full of so much potential.
Home, with Christian. Except his apartment is an art gallery, not a home.
Taylor opens the door for us, and I thank him shyly, aware that he’s been within earshot of our conversation, but his kind smile is reassuring and gives nothing away. Once out of the car, Christian assesses me critically. Oh no… what have I done now?
“Why don’t you have a jacket?” he frowns as he shrugs out of his and drapes it over my shoulders.
Relief washes through me.
“It’s in my new car,” I reply sleepily, yawning.
He smirks at me.
“Tired, Miss Steele?”
“Yes, Mr. Grey.” I feel bashful under his teasing scrutiny. Nevertheless I feel an explanation is in order, “I’ve been prevailed upon in ways I never thought possible today.”
“Well, if you’re really unlucky, I may prevail upon you some more,” he promises as he takes my hand and leads me into the building. Holy Shit… Again?!
I gaze up at him in the elevator. I have assumed he’d like me to sleep with him, and then I remember that he doesn’t sleep with anyone, although he has with me a few times. I frown, and abruptly his gaze darkens. He reaches up and grasps my chin, freeing my lip from teeth.
“One day I will fuck you in this elevator, Anastasia, but right now you’re tired – so I think we should stick to a bed.”
Bending down, he clamps his teeth around my lower lip and pulls gently. I melt against him, and my breathing stops as my insides unfurl with longing. I reciprocate, fastening my teeth over his top lip, teasing him, and he groans. When the elevator doors open, he grabs my hand and tugs me into the foyer, through the double doors, and into the hallway.
“Do you need a drink or anything?”
“Good. Let’s go to bed.”
I raise my eyebrows at him.
“You’re going to settle for plain old vanilla?”
He cocks his head to one side.
“Nothing plain or old about vanilla – it’s a very intriguing flavor,” he breathes.
“Since when?”
“Since last Saturday. Why? Were you hoping for something more exotic?”
My inner goddess pops her head above the parapet.
“Oh no. I’ve had enough exotic for one day.” My inner goddess pouts at me, failing miserably to hide her disappointment.
“Sure? We cater for all tastes here – at least thirty-one flavors.” He grins at me lasciviously.
“I’ve noticed,” I reply dryly.
He shakes his head.
“Come on, Miss Steele, you have a big day tomorrow. Sooner you’re in bed, sooner you’ll be fucked, and sooner you can sleep.”
“Mr. Grey, you are a born romantic.”
“Miss Steele, you have a smart mouth. I may have to subdue it some way. Come.” He leads me down the hallway into his bedroom and kicks the door closed.
“Hands in the air,” he commands.
I oblige, and in one breathtakingly swift move, he removes my dress like a magician, grasping it at the hem and pulling it smoothly and fleetly over my head.
“Ta Da!” he says playfully.
I giggle and applaud politely. He bows gracefully grinning. How can I resist him when he’s like this? He places my dress on the lone chair beside his chest of drawers.
“And for your next trick?” I prompt, teasing.
“Oh my dear, Miss Steele. Get into my bed,” he growls. “And I’ll show you.”
“Do you think that for once I should play hard to get?” I ask coquettishly.
His eyes widen with surprise, and I see a glimmer of excitement.
“Well… the door’s closed. Not sure how you’re going to avoid me,” he says sardonically. “I think it’s a done deal.”
“But I’m a good negotiator.”
“So am I.” He stares down at me, but as he does, his expression changes, confusion washes over him, and the atmosphere in the room shifts abruptly, tensing. “Don’t you want to fuck?” he asks.
“No,” I breathe.
“Oh.” He frowns.
Okay, here goes… deep breath.
“I want you to make love to me.”
He stills and stares at me blankly. His expression darkens. Oh shit, this doesn’t look good. Give him a minute! My subconscious snaps.
“Ana, I… ” He runs his hands through his hair. Two hands. Jeez, he’s really bewildered.
“I thought we did?” he says eventually.
“I want to touch you.”
He takes an involuntary step back from me, his expression for a moment fearful, and then he reins it in.
“Please,” I whisper.
He recovers himself.
“Oh, no Miss Steele, you’ve had enough concessions from me this evening. And I’m saying no.”
Oh… I can’t argue with that… can I?
“Look, you’re tired, I’m tired. Let’s just go to bed,” he says, watching me carefully.
“So touching is a hard limit for you?”
“Yes. This is old news.”
“Please tell me why.”
“Oh, Anastasia, please. Just drop it for now,” he mutters exasperated.
“It’s important to me.”
Again he runs both hands through his hair, and he utters an oath beneath his breath. Turning on his heel, he heads for the chest of drawers, pulls out a t-shirt, and throws it at me. I catch it, bemused.
“Put that on and get into bed,” he snaps, irritated.
I frown but decide to humor him. Turning my back, I quickly remove my bra, pulling the t-shirt on as hastily as I can to cover my nakedness. I leave my panties on, I haven’t worn them for most of the evening.
“I need the bathroom.” My voice is a whisper.
He frowns, bemused.
“Now you’re asking permission?”
“Err… no.”
“Anastasia, you know where the bathroom is. Today, at this point in our strange arrangement, you don’t need my permission to use it.” He cannot hide his irritation. He shrugs out of his shirt, and I scoot into the bathroom.
I stare at myself in the over-large mirror, shocked that I still look the same. After all that I’ve done today, it’s still the same ordinary girl gaping back at me. What did you expect – that you’d grow horns and a little pointy tail? My subconscious snaps at me. And what the hell are you doing? Touching is his hard limit. Too soon, you idiot, he needs to walk before he can run. My subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch’s Scream. I ignore her, but she won’t climb back into her box. You are making him mad – think about all that’s he’s said, all he’s conceded. I scowl at my reflection. I need to be able to show him affection – then perhaps he can reciprocate.
I shake my head resigned and grasp Christian’s toothbrush. My subconscious is right of course. I’m rushing him. He’s not ready and neither am I. We are balanced on the delicate see-saw, that is our strange arrangement – at different ends, vacillating, and it tips and sways between us. We both need to edge closer to the middle. I just hope neither of us falls off in our attempt to do so. This is all so quick. Maybe I need some distance. Georgia seems more appealing than ever. As I begin brushing my teeth, he knocks.
“Come in,” I splutter through a mouthful of toothpaste.
Christian stands in the doorway, his PJs hanging off his hips – in that way that makes every little cell in my body stand up and take notice. He’s bare-chested, and I drink him in like I’m crazed with thirst and he’s clear cool mountain spring water. He gazes at me impassively, then smirks and comes to stand beside me. Our eyes lock in the mirror, gray to blue. I finish with his toothbrush, rinse it off, and hand it to him, my look never leaving his. Wordlessly, he takes the toothbrush from me and puts it in his mouth. I smirk back at him, and his eyes are suddenly dancing with humor.
“Do feel free to borrow my toothbrush.” His tone is gently mocking.
“Thank you, Sir,” I smile sweetly, and I leave, heading back to bed.
A few minutes later he joins me.
“You know this is not how I saw tonight panning out,” he mutters petulantly.
“Imagine if I said to you that you couldn’t touch me.”
He clambers onto the bed and sits cross-legged.
“Anastasia, I’ve told you. Fifty shades. I had a rough start in life – you don’t want that shit in your head. Why would you?”
“Because I want to know you better.”
“You know me well enough.”
“How can you say that?” I struggle up onto my knees, facing him.
He rolls his eyes at me, frustrated.
“You’re rolling your eyes. Last time I did that, I ended up over your knee.”
“Oh, I’d like to put you there again.”
Inspiration hits me.
“Tell me and you can.”
“You heard me.”
“You’re bargaining with me?” His voice resonates with astonished disbelief.
I nod. Yes… this is the way.
“It doesn’t work that way, Anastasia.”
“Okay. Tell me, and I’ll roll my eyes at you.”
He laughs, and I get a rare glimpse of carefree Christian. I’ve not seen him for a while. He sobers.
“Always so keen and eager for information.” His gray eyes blaze with speculation. After a moment, he gracefully climbs off the bed. “Don’t go away,” he says and exits the room.
Trepidation lances through me, and I hug myself. What’s he doing? Does he have some evil plan? Crap. Suppose he returns with a cane, or some weird kinky implement? Holy shit, what will I do then? When he does return, he’s holding something small in his hands. I can’t see what it is, and I’m burning with curiosity.
“When’s your first interview tomorrow?” he asks softly.
A slow wicked grin spreads across his face.
“Good.” And before my eyes, he subtly changes. He’s harder, intractable… hot. This is Dominant Christian.
“Get off the bed. Stand over here.” He points to beside the bed, and I scramble up and off in double-quick time. He stares intently down at me, his eyes glittering with promise. “Trust me?” he asks softly.
I nod. He holds out his hand, and in his palm are two round, shiny, silver balls, linked with a thick black thread.
“These are new,” he says emphatically.
I look questioningly up at him.
“I am going to put these inside you, and then I’m going to spank you, not for punishment, but for your pleasure and mine.” He pauses, gauging my wide-eyed reaction.
Inside me! I gasp, and all the muscles deep in my belly clench. My inner goddess is doing the dance of the seven veils.
“Then we’ll fuck, and if you’re still awake, I’ll impart some information about my formative years. Agreed?”
He’s asking my permission! Breathlessly, I nod. I’m incapable of speech.
“Good girl. Open your mouth.”
Very gently, he puts the balls in my mouth.
“They need lubrication. Suck,” he orders, his voice soft.
The balls are cold, smooth, surprisingly heavy, and metallic tasting. My dry mouth pools with saliva as my tongue explores the unfamiliar objects. Christian’s gray gaze does not leave mine. Holy hell, this is turning me on. I squirm slightly.
“Keep still, Anastasia,” he warns.
“Stop.” He tugs them from my mouth. Moving toward the bed, he throws the duvet aside and sits down on the edge.
“Come here.”
I stand in front of him.
“Now turn round, bend down, and grasp your ankles.”
I blink at him, and his expression darkens.
“Don’t hesitate,” he admonishes me softly, an undercurrent in his voice, and he pops the balls in his mouth.
Fuck, this is sexier than the toothbrush. I follow his orders immediately. Jeez, can I touch my ankles? I find I can, with ease. The t-shirt slides up my back, exposing my behind. Thank heavens I have retained my panties, but I suspect I won’t for long.
He places his hand reverently on my backside and very softly caresses it with his whole hand. With my eyes open, I can see his legs through mine, nothing else. I close my eyes tightly as he gently moves my panties to the side and slowly runs his finger up and down my sex. My body braces itself in a heady mix of wild anticipation and arousal. He slides one finger inside me, and he circles it deliciously slowly. Oh, it feels good. I moan.
His breathing halts, and I hear him gasp as he repeats the motion. He withdraws his finger and very slowly inserts the objects, one slow, delicious ball at a time. Oh my. They’re body temperature, warmed by our collective mouths. It’s a curious feeling. Once they’re inside me, I can’t really feel them – but then again I know they’re there.
He straightens my panties and leans forward, and his lips softly kiss my behind.
“Stand up,” he orders, and shakily I get to my feet.
Oh! Now I can feel them… sort of. He grasps my hips to steady me while I re-establish my equilibrium.
“You okay?” he asks, his voice stern.
“Yes.” My answer is feather soft.
“Turn round.” I turn and face him.
The balls pull downward and involuntarily I clench around them. The feeling startles me but not in a bad way.
“How does that feel?” he asks.
“Strange good or strange bad?”
“Strange good,” I confess, blushing.
“Good.” There’s a trace of humor lurking in his eyes.
“I want a glass of water. Go and fetch one for me please.”
“And when you come back, I shall put you across my knee. Think about that, Anastasia.”
Water? He wants water – now – why?
As I leave the bedroom, it becomes abundantly clear why he wants me to walk around – as I do, the balls weigh down inside me, massaging me internally. It’s such a weird feeling and not entirely unpleasant. In fact, my breathing accelerates as I stretch up for a glass from the kitchen cabinet, and I gasp. Oh my… I may have to keep these. They make me needy, needy for sex.
He’s watching me carefully when I return.
“Thank you,” he says as he takes the glass from me.
Slowly, he takes a sip then places the glass on his bedside table. There’s a foil packet, ready and waiting, like me. And I know he’s doing this to build the anticipation. My heart has picked up a beat. He turns his bright gray gaze to mine.
“Come. Stand beside me. Like last time.”
I sidle up to him, my blood thrumming through my body, and this time… I’m excited. Aroused.
“Ask me,” he says softly.
I frown. Ask him what?
“Ask me,” his voice is slightly harder.
What? How was your water? What does he want?
“Ask me, Anastasia. I won’t say it again.” And there’s such a threat implicit in his words, and it dawns on me. He wants me to ask him to spank me.
Holy shit. He’s looking at me expectantly, his eyes growing colder. Shit.
“Spank me, please… Sir,” I whisper.
He closes his eyes momentarily, savoring my words. Reaching up, he grasps my left hand and he tugs me over his knees. I fall instantly, and he steadies me as I land in his lap. My heart is in my mouth as his hand gently strokes my behind. I’m angled across his lap again so that my torso rests on the bed beside him. This time he doesn’t throw his leg over mine, but smoothes my hair out of my face and tucks it behind my ear. Once he’s done, he clasps my hair at the nape to hold me in place. He tugs gently and my head shifts back.
“I want to see your face while I spank you, Anastasia,” he murmurs, all the while softly rubbing my backside.
His hand moves down between the cheeks of my behind, and he pushes against my sex, and the full feeling is… I moan. Oh, the sensation is exquisite.
“This is for pleasure, Anastasia, mine and yours,” he whispers softly.
He lifts his hand and brings it down in a resounding slap against the junction of my thighs, my behind, and my sex. The balls are forced forward inside me, and I’m lost in a quagmire of sensation. The stinging across my behind, the fullness of the balls inside me, and the fact that he’s holding me down. I screw my face up as my faculties attempt to absorb all these foreign feelings. I note somewhere in my brain that he’s not smacked me as hard as last time. He caresses my backside again, trailing his palm across my skin and over my underwear.
Why’s he not removed my panties? Then his palm disappears, and he brings it down again. I groan as the sensation spreads. He starts a pattern: left to right and then down. The down ones are the best. Everything moving forward, inside me… and in between each smack he caresses me, kneads me – so I am massaged inside and out. It’s such a stimulating, erotic feeling, and for some reason, because this is on my terms, I don’t mind the pain. It’s not painful as such – well it is, but not unbearable. It’s somehow manageable, and yes pleasurable… even. I groan. Yes, I can do this.
He pauses as he slowly peels my panties down my legs. I writhe on his legs, not because I want to escape the blows, but I want… more, release, something. His touch against my sensitized skin is all sensuous tingle. It’s overwhelming, and he starts again. A few soft slaps then building up, left to right and down. Oh, the downs, I groan.
“Good girl, Anastasia,” he groans, and his breathing is ragged.
He spanks me twice more, and then he pulls at the small threads attached to the balls and jerks them out of me suddenly. I almost climax – the feeling is out of this world. Moving swiftly, he gently turns me over. I hear rather see the rip of the foil packet, and then he’s lying beside me. He seizes my hands, hoists them over my head, and eases himself onto me, into me, sliding slowly, filling me where the silver globes have been. I groan loudly.
“Oh, baby,” he whispers as he moves back, forward, a slow sensual tempo, savoring me, feeling me.
It is the most gentle he has ever been, and it takes no time at all for me to fall over the edge, spiraling into a delicious, violent, exhausting, orgasm. As I clench around him, it ignites his release, and he slides into me, stilling, gasping out my name in desperate wonder.
He’s silent and panting on top of me, his hands still entwined in mine above my head. Finally, he leans back and stares down at me.
“I enjoyed that,” he whispers, and then kisses me sweetly.
He doesn’t linger for more sweet kisses, but rises, covers me with the duvet, and disappears into the bathroom. On his return he’s carrying a bottle of white lotion. He sits beside me on the bed.
“Roll over,” he orders, and begrudgingly I move on to my front.
Honestly, all this fuss. I feel very sleepy.
“Your ass is a glorious color,” he says approvingly, and he tenderly massages the cooling lotion into my pink behind.
“Spill the beans, Grey,” I yawn.
“Miss Steele, you know how to ruin a moment.”
“We had a deal.”
“How do you feel?”
“Short changed.”
He sighs, slides in beside me, and pulls me into his arms. Careful not to touch my stinging behind, we are spooning again. He kisses me very softly beside my ear.
“The woman who brought me into this world was a crack-whore, Anastasia. Go to sleep.”
Holy fuck… what does that mean?
“She’s dead.”
“How long?”
He sighs.
“She died when I was four. I don’t really remember her. Carrick has given me some details. I only remember certain things. Please go to sleep.”
“Goodnight, Christian.”
“Goodnight, Ana.”
And I slip into a dazed and exhausted sleep, dreaming of a four-year-old, gray-eyed boy in a dark, scary, miserable place.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 19 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 19


Soft lips brush across my temple, leaving sweet tender kisses in their wake, and part of me wants to turn and respond, but mostly I want to stay asleep. I moan and burrow into my pillow.
“Anastasia, wake up.” Christian’s voice is soft, cajoling.
“No,” I moan.
“We have to leave in half an hour for dinner at my parents.” He’s amused.
I open my eyes reluctantly. It’s dusk outside. Christian is leaning over, gazing at me intently.
“Come on sleepy-head. Get up.” He stoops down and kisses me again.
“I’ve bought you a drink. I’ll be downstairs. Don’t go back to sleep, or you’ll be in trouble,” he threatens, but his tone is mild. He kisses me briefly and exits, leaving me blinking sleep from my eyes in the cool, stark room.
I’m refreshed but suddenly nervous. Holy cow, I am meeting his folks! He’s just worked me over with a riding crop and tied me up using a cable tie which I sold him, for heaven’s sake – and I’m going to meet his parents. It will be Kate’s first time meeting them too – at least she’ll be there for support. I roll my shoulders. They’re stiff. His demands for a personal trainer don’t seem so outlandish now, in fact, they’re mandatory if I am to have any hope of keeping up with him.
I climb slowly out of bed and note that my dress is hanging outside the wardrobe and my bra is on the chair. Where are my panties? I check beneath the chair. Nothing. Then I remember – he squirreled them away in the pocket of his jeans. I flush at the memory, after he, I can’t even bring myself to think about it, he was so – barbarous. I frown. Why hasn’t he given me back my panties?
I steal into the bathroom, bewildered by my lack of underwear. While drying myself after my enjoyable but far too brief shower, I realize he’s done this on purpose. He wants me to be embarrassed and ask for my panties back, and he’ll either say yes or no. My inner goddess grins at me. Hell… two can play that particular game. Resolving there and then not to ask him for them and not give him that satisfaction, I shall go meet his parents sans culottes. Anastasia Steele! My subconscious chides me, but I don’t want to listen to her – I almost hug myself with glee because I know this will drive him crazy.
Back in the bedroom, I put on my bra, slip into my dress, and climb into my shoes. I remove the braid and hastily brush out my hair, I then glance down at the drink he’s left. It’s pale pink. What’s this? Cranberry and sparkling water. Hmm… it tastes delicious and quenches my thirst.
Dashing back into the bathroom, I check myself in the mirror: eyes bright, cheeks slightly flushed, slightly smug look because of my panty plan, and I head downstairs. Fifteen minutes. Not bad, Ana.
Christian is standing by the panoramic window, wearing the grey flannel pants that I love, the ones that hang in that unbelievably sexy way off his hips, and of course, a white linen shirt. Doesn’t he have any other colors? Frank Sinatra sings softly over the surround sound speakers.
Christian turns and smiles as I enter. He looks at me expectantly.
“Hi,” I say softly, and my sphinx-like smile meets his.
“Hi,” he says. “How are you feeling?” His eyes are alight with amusement.
“Good, thanks. You?”
“I feel mighty fine, Miss Steele.”
He is so waiting for me to say something.
“Frank. I never figured you for a Sinatra fan.”
He raises his eyebrows at me, his look speculative.
“Eclectic taste, Miss Steele,” he murmurs, and he paces toward me like a panther until he’s standing in front of me, his gaze so intense it takes my breath away.
Frank starts crooning… an old song, one of Ray’s favorites. ‘Witchcraft.’ Christian leisurely traces his fingertips down my cheek, and I feel it all the way down there.
“Dance with me,” he murmurs, his voice husky.
Taking the remote out of his pocket, he turns up the volume and holds his hand out to me, his gray gaze full of promise and longing and humor. He is totally beguiling, and I’m bewitched. I place my hand in his. He grins lazily down at me and pulls me into his embrace, his arm curling around my waist, and he starts to sway.
I put my free hand on his shoulder and grin up at him, caught in his infectious, playful mood. And he starts to move. Boy can he dance. We cover the floor, from the window to the kitchen and back again, whirling and turning in time to the music. And he makes it so effortless for me to follow.
We glide around the dining table, over to the piano, and backwards and forwards in front of the glass wall, Seattle twinkling outside, a dark and magical mural to our dance, and I can’t help my carefree laugh. He grins down at me as the song comes to a close.
“There’s no nicer witch than you,” he murmurs, then kisses me sweetly. “Well, that’s bought some color to your cheeks, Miss Steele. Thank you for the dance. Shall we go and meet my parents?”
“You’re welcome, and yes, I can’t wait to meet them,” I answer breathlessly.
“Do you have everything you need?”
“Oh, yes,” I respond sweetly.
“Are you sure?”
I nod as nonchalantly as I can manage under his intense, amused scrutiny. His face splits into a huge grin, and he shakes his head.
“Okay. If that’s the way you want to play it, Miss Steele.”
He grabs my hand, collects his jacket which is hanging on one of the barstools, and leads me through the foyer to the elevator. Oh, the many faces of Christian Grey. Will I ever be able to understand this mercurial man?
I peek up at him in the elevator. He’s enjoying a private joke, a trace of a smile flirting with his beautiful mouth. I fear that it may be at my expense. What was I thinking? I’m going to see his parents, and I’m not wearing any underwear. My subconscious gives me an unhelpful I told you so expression. In the relative safety of his apartment, it seemed like a fun, teasing idea. Now, I’m almost outside with No Panties! He peers down at me, and it’s there, the charge building between us. The amused look disappears from his face and his expression clouds, his eyes dark… oh my.
The elevator doors open on the ground floor. Christian shakes his head slightly as if to clear his thoughts and gestures for me to exit before him in a most gentlemanly manner. Who’s he kidding? He’s no gentleman. He has my panties.
Taylor draws up in the large Audi. Christian opens the rear door for me, and I climb inside as elegantly as I can, considering my state of wanton undress. I’m grateful that Kate’s plum dress is so clingy and hangs to the top of my knees.
We speed up the I-5, both of us quiet, no doubt inhibited by Taylor’s steady presence in the front. Christian’s mood is almost tangible and seems to shift, the humor dissipating slowly as we head north. He’s brooding, staring out of the window, and I can feel him slipping away from me. What is he thinking? I can’t ask him. What can I say in front of Taylor?
“Where did you learn to dance?” I ask tentatively. He turns to gaze at me, his eyes unreadable beneath the intermittent light of the passing street lamps.
“Do you really want to know?” he replies softly.
My heart sinks, and now I don’t because I can guess.
“Yes,” I murmur, reluctantly.
“Mrs. Robinson was fond of dancing.”
Oh, my worst suspicions confirmed. She has taught him well, and the thought depresses me – there’s nothing I can teach him. I have no special skills.
“She must have been a good teacher.”
“She was,” he says softly.
My scalp prickles. Did she have the best of him? Before he became so closed? Or did she bring him out of himself? He has such a fun, playful side. I smile involuntarily as I recall being in his arms as he spun me around his living room, so unexpected, and he has my panties, somewhere.
And then there’s the Red Room of Pain. I rub my wrists reflexively – thin strips of plastic will do that to a girl. She taught him all that too or ruined him, depending on one’s point of view. Or perhaps he would have found his way there anyway in spite of Mrs. R. I realize, in that moment, that I hate her. I hope that I never meet her because I will not be responsible for my actions if I do. I can’t remember ever feeling this passionately about anyone, especially someone I’ve never met. Gazing unseeing out of the window, I nurse my irrational anger and jealousy.
My mind drifts back to the afternoon. Given what I understand of his preferences, I think he’s been easy on me. Would I do it again? I can’t even pretend to put up an argument against that. Of course I would, if he asked me – as long as he didn’t hurt me and if it’s the only way to be with him.
That’s the bottom line. I want to be with him. My inner goddess sighs with relief. I reach the conclusion that she rarely uses her brain to think but another vital part of her anatomy, and at the moment, it’s a rather exposed part.
“Don’t,” he murmurs.
I frown and turn to look at him.
“Don’t what?” I haven’t touched him.
“Over-think things, Anastasia.” Reaching out, he grasps my hand, draws it up to his lips, and kisses my knuckles gently. “I had a wonderful afternoon. Thank you.”
And he’s back with me again. I blink up at him and smile shyly. He’s so confusing. I ask a question that’s been bugging me.
“Why did you use a cable tie?”
He grins at me.
“It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s something different for you to feel and experience. I know they’re quite brutal, and I do like that in a restraining device.” He smiles at me mildly. “Very effective at keeping you in your place.”
I flush and glance nervously at Taylor, who remains impassive, eyes on road. What am I supposed to say to that? Christian shrugs innocently.
“All part of my world, Anastasia.” He squeezes my hand and lets go, staring out of the window again.
His world indeed, and I want to belong in it, but on his terms? I just don’t know. He hasn’t mentioned that damned contract. My inner musings do nothing to cheer me. I stare out of the window and the landscape has changed. We’re crossing one of the bridges, surrounded by inky darkness. The somber night reflects my introspective mood, closing in, suffocating.
I glance briefly at Christian, and he’s staring at me.
“Penny for your thoughts?” he asks.
I sigh and frown.
“That bad, huh?”
“I wish I knew what you were thinking.”
He smirks at me.
“Ditto, baby,” he says softly as Taylor speeds into the night toward Bellevue.
It is just before eight when the Audi draws into the driveway of a colonial-style mansion. It’s breathtaking, even down to the roses around the door. Picture-book perfect.
“Are you ready for this?” Christian asks as Taylor pulls up outside the impressive front door.
I nod, and he gives my hand another reassuring squeeze.
“First for me too,” he whispers, then smiles wickedly. “Bet you wish you were wearing your underwear right now,” he teases.
I flush. I’d forgotten my missing panties. Fortunately, Taylor has climbed out of the car and is opening my door so he can’t hear our exchange. I scowl at Christian who grins broadly as I turn and climb out of the car.
Dr. Grace Trevelyan-Grey is on the doorstep waiting for us. She looks elegantly sophisticated in a pale blue silk dress; behind her stands Mr. Grey, I presume, tall, blond, and as handsome in his own way as Christian.
“Anastasia, you’ve met my mother, Grace. This is my dad, Carrick.”
“Mr. Grey, what a pleasure to meet you.” I smile and shake his outstretched hand.
“The pleasure is all mine, Anastasia.”
“Please call me, Ana.”
His blue eyes are soft and gentle.
“Ana, how lovely to see you again.” Grace wraps me in a warm hug. “Come in, my dear.”
“Is she here?” I hear a screech from within the house. I glance nervously at Christian.
“That would be Mia, my little sister,” he says almost irritably, but not quite.
There’s an undercurrent of affection in his words, the way his voice grows softer and his eyes crinkle as he mentions her name. Christian obviously adores her. It’s a revelation. And she comes barreling down the hall, raven haired, tall, and curvaceous. She’s about my age.
“Anastasia! I’ve heard so much about you.” She hugs me hard.
Holy Cow. I can’t help but smile at her boundless enthusiasm.
“Ana, please,” I murmur as she drags me into the large vestibule. It’s all dark wood floors and antique rugs with a sweeping staircase to the second floor.
“He’s never brought a girl home before,” says Mia, dark eyes bright with excitement.
I glimpse Christian rolling his eyes, and I raise an eyebrow at him. He narrows his eyes at me.
“Mia, calm down,” Grace admonishes softly. “Hello, darling,” she says as she kisses Christian on both cheeks. He smiles down at her warmly, and then shakes hands with his father.
We all turn and head into the living room. Mia has not let go of my hand. The room is spacious, tastefully furnished in creams, browns, and pale blue, comfortable, understated, and very stylish. Kate and Elliot are cuddled together on a couch, clutching champagne flutes. Kate bounces up to embrace me, and Mia finally releases my hand.
“Hi, Ana!” She beams. “Christian.” She nods curtly to him.
“Kate.” He is equally formal with her.
I frown at their exchange. Elliot grasps me in an all-embracing hug. What is this, hug Ana week? This dazzling display of affection – I’m just not used to it. Christian stands at my side, wrapping his arm around me. Placing his hand on my hip, he spreads out his fingers and pulls me close. Everyone is staring at us. It’s unnerving.
“Drinks?” Mr. Grey seems to recover himself. “Prosecco?”
“Please,” Christian and I speak in unison.
Oh… this is beyond weird. Mia claps her hands.
“You’re even saying the same things. I’ll get them.” She scoots out of the room.
I flush scarlet, and seeing Kate sitting with Elliot, it occurs to me suddenly that the only reason Christian invited me is because Kate is here. Elliot probably freely and happily asked Kate to meet his parents. Christian was trapped – knowing that I would have found out via Kate. I frown at the thought. He’s been forced into the invitation. The realization is bleak and depressing. My subconscious nods sagely, a you’ve-finally-worked-it-out-stupid look on her face.
“Dinner’s almost ready,” Grace says as she follows Mia out of the room.
Christian frowns as he gazes at me.
“Sit,” he commands, pointing to the plush couch, and I do as I’m told, carefully crossing my legs. He sits down beside me but doesn’t touch me.
“We were just talking about vacations, Ana,” Mr. Grey says kindly. “Elliot has decided to follow Kate and her family to Barbados for a week.”
I glance at Kate, and she grins, her eyes bright and wide. She’s delighted. Katherine Kavanagh, show some dignity!
“Are you taking a break now you’ve finished your degree?” Mr. Grey asks.
“I’m thinking about going to Georgia for a few days,” I reply.
Christian gapes at me, blinking a couple of times, his expression unreadable. Oh shit. I haven’t mentioned this to him.
“Georgia?” he murmurs.
“My mother lives there, and I haven’t seen her for a while.”
“When were you thinking of going?” His voice is low.
“Tomorrow, late evening.”
Mia saunters back into the living room and hands us champagne flutes filled with pale pink Prosecco.
“Your good health!” Mr. Grey raises his glass. An appropriate toast from a doctor’s husband, it makes me smile.
“For how long?” Christian asks, his voice deceptively soft.
Holy crap… he’s angry.
“I don’t know yet. It will depend how my interviews go tomorrow.”
His jaw clenches, and Kate gets that interfering look on her face. She smiles over-sweetly.
“Ana deserves a break,” she says pointedly at Christian. Why is she so antagonistic towards him? What is her problem?
“You have interviews?” Mr. Grey asks.
“Yes, for internships at two publishers, tomorrow.”
“I wish you the best of luck.”
“Dinner is on the table,” Grace announces.
We all stand. Kate and Elliot follow Mr. Grey and Mia out of the room. I go to follow, but Christian clutches my elbow, bringing me to an abrupt halt.
“When were you going to tell me you were leaving?” he asks urgently. His tone is soft, but he’s masking his anger.
“I’m not leaving, I’m going to see my mother, and I was only thinking about it.”
“What about our arrangement?”
“We don’t have an arrangement yet.”
He narrows his eyes, and then seems to remember himself. Releasing my hand, he takes my elbow and leads me out of the room.
“This conversation is not over,” he whispers threateningly as we enter the dining room.
Oh, crapola. Don’t get your panties in such a twist… and give me back mine. I glare at him.
The dining room reminds me of our private dinner at the Heathman. A crystal chandelier hangs over the dark wood table and there’s a massive, ornately carved mirror on the wall. The table is laid and covered with a crisp white linen tablecloth, a bowl of pale pink peonies as the center piece. It’s stunning.
We take our places. Mr. Grey is at the head of the table, while I sit at his right hand, and Christian is seated beside me. Mr. Grey reaches for the opened bottle of red wine and offers some to Kate. Mia takes her seat beside Christian, and grabbing his hand, squeezes it tightly. Christian smiles warmly at her.
“Where did you meet, Ana?” Mia asks him.
“She interviewed me for the WSU student magazine.”
“Which Kate edits,” I add, hoping to steer the conversation away from me.
Mia beams at Kate, seated opposite next to Elliot, and they start talking about the student magazine.
“Wine, Ana?” Mr. Grey asks.
“Please.” I smile at him. Mr. Grey rises to fill the rest of the glasses.
I peek up at Christian, and he turns to look at me, his head cocked to one side.
“What?” he asks.
“Please don’t be mad at me,” I whisper.
“I’m not mad at you.”
I stare at him. He sighs.
“Yes, I am mad at you.” He closes his eyes briefly.
“Palm-twitchingly mad?” I ask nervously.
“What are you two whispering about?” Kate interjects.
I flush, and Christian glares at her in a butt-out-of-this-Kavanagh kind of way – even Kate wilts under his stare.
“Just about my trip to Georgia,” I say sweetly, hoping to diffuse their mutual hostility.
Kate smiles, a wicked gleam in her eye.
“How was José when you went to the bar with him on Friday?”
Holy fuck, Kate. I widen my eyes at her. What is she doing? She widens her eyes back at me, and I realize she’s trying to make Christian jealous. How little she knows. I thought I’d got away with this.
“He was fine,” I murmur.
Christian leans over.
“Palm-twitchingly mad,” he whispers. “Especially now.” His tone is quiet and deadly.
Oh no. I squirm.
Grace reappears carrying two plates, followed by a pretty young woman with blonde pigtails, dressed smartly in pale blue, carrying a tray of plates. Her eyes immediately find Christian in the room. She blushes and gazes at him from under her long mascara’d lashes. What!
Somewhere in the house the phone starts ringing.
“Excuse me,” Mr. Grey rises again and exits.
“Thank you, Gretchen,” Grace says gently, frowning as Mr. Grey exits. “Just leave the tray on the console.” Gretchen nods, and with another furtive glance at Christian, she leaves.
So the Greys have staff, and the staff are eyeing up my would-be Dominant. Can this evening get any worse? I scowl at my hands in my lap.
Mr. Grey returns.
“Call for you, darling. It’s the hospital,” he says to Grace.
“Please start, everyone.” Grace smiles as she hands me a plate and leaves.
It smells delicious – chorizo and scallops with roasted red peppers and shallots, sprinkled with flat leafed parsley. And in spite of the fact that my stomach is churning from Christian’s veiled threats, the surreptitious glances from pretty little Miss Pigtails, and the debacle of my missing underwear, I am starving. I flush as I realize it’s the physical effort of this afternoon that’s given me such an appetite.
Moments later Grace returns, her brow furrowed. Mr. Grey cocks his head to one side… like Christian.
“Everything okay?”
“Another measles case,” Grace sighs.
“Oh no.”
“Yes, a child. The fourth case this month. If only people would get their kids vaccinated.” She shakes her head sadly, and then smiles. “I’m so glad our children never went through that. They never caught anything worse than chicken pox, thank goodness. Poor Elliot,” she says as she sits down, smiling indulgently at her son. Elliot frowns mid chew and squirms uncomfortably. “Christian and Mia were lucky. They got it so mildly, only a spot to share between them.”
Mia giggles, and Christian rolls his eyes.
“So, did you catch the Mariners game, Dad?” Elliot’s clearly keen to move the conversation on.
The hors d’oeuvres are delicious, and I concentrate on eating while Elliot, Mr. Grey, and Christian talk baseball. Christian seems relaxed and calm talking to his family. My mind is working furiously. Damn Kate, what game is she playing? Will he punish me? I
quail at the thought. I haven’t signed that contract yet. Perhaps I won’t. Perhaps I’ll stay in Georgia where he can’t reach me.
“How are you settling into your new apartment dear?” Grace asks politely.
I’m grateful for her question, distracting me from my discordant thoughts, and I tell her about our move.
As we finish our starters, Gretchen appears, and not for the first time, I wish I felt able to put my hands freely on Christian just to let her know – he may be fifty shades of fucked-up, but he’s mine. She proceeds to clear the table, brushing rather too closely to Christian for my liking. Fortunately, he seems oblivious to her, but my inner goddess is smoldering and not in a good way.
Kate and Mia are waxing lyrical about Paris.
“Have you been to Paris, Ana?” Mia asks innocently, distracting me from my jealous reverie.
“No, but I’d love to go.” I know I’m the only one at the table who has never left mainland USA.
“We honeymooned in Paris.” Grace smiles at Mr. Grey who grins back at her.
It’s almost embarrassing to witness. They obviously love each other deeply, and I wonder for a brief moment what it must be like to grow up with both one’s parents in situ.
“It’s a beautiful city,” Mia agrees. “In spite of the Parisians. Christian, you should take Ana to Paris,” Mia states firmly.
“I think Anastasia would prefer London,” Christian says softly.
Oh… he remembered. He places his hand on my knee – his fingers traveling up my thigh. My whole body tightens in response. No… not here, not now. I flush and shift, trying to pull away from him. His hand clamps down on my thigh, stilling me. I reach for my wine, in desperation.
Little Miss European Pigtails returns, all coy glances and swaying hips, with our entrée, a Beef Wellington, I think. Fortunately, she gives us our plates and then leaves, although she lingers handing Christian his. He looks quizzically at me as I watch her close the dining room door.
“So what was wrong with the Parisians?” Elliot asks his sister. “Didn’t they take to your winsome ways?”
“Ugh, no they didn’t. And Monsieur Floubert, the ogre I was working for, he was such a domineering tyrant.”
I splutter into my wine.
“Anastasia, are you okay?” Christian asks solicitously, taking his hand off my thigh.
Humor has returned to his voice. Oh thank heavens. When I nod, he pats my back gently, and only removes his hand when he knows I’ve recovered.
The beef is delicious and served with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and green beans. It is even more palatable since Christian manages to retain his good-humor for the rest of the meal. I suspect that it’s because I’m eating so heartily. The conversation flows freely among the Greys, warm and caring, gently teasing each other. Over our dessert of lemon syllabub, Mia regales us with her exploits in Paris, lapsing at one point into fluent French. We all stare at her, and she stares back puzzled, until Christian tells her in
equally fluent French what she’s done, whereupon she bursts into a fit of giggles. She has a very infectious laugh and soon we’re all in stitches.
Elliot holds forth about his latest building project, a new eco-friendly community to the north of Seattle. I glance up at Kate, and she’s hanging on every word Elliot says, her eyes glowing with lust or love. I haven’t quite worked out which yet. He grins down at her, and it’s as if an unspoken promise passes between them. Laters, baby, he’s saying, and it’s hot, freaking hot. I flush just watching them.
I sigh and peek up at Fifty Shades. He’s so beautiful, I could stare at him forever. He has light stubble over his chin, and my fingers itch to scratch it and feel it against my face, against my breasts… between my thighs. I blush at the direction of my thoughts. He peers down at me and raises his hand to pull at my chin.
“Don’t bite your lip,” he murmurs huskily. “I want to do that.”
Grace and Mia clear our dessert glasses and head to the kitchen, while Mr. Grey, Kate, and Elliot discuss the merits of solar panels in Washington State. Christian, feigning interest in their conversation, puts his hand once more on my knee, and his fingers travel up my thigh. My breathing hitches, and I press my thighs together in a bid to halt his progress. I can see him smirk.
“Shall I give you a tour of the grounds?” he asks me quite openly.
I know I’m meant to say yes, but I don’t trust him. Before I can answer however, he’s on his feet and holding his hand out to me. I place my hand in his, and I feel all the muscles clench deep in my belly, responding to his dark, hungry gray gaze.
“Excuse me,” I say to Mr. Grey and follow Christian out of the dining room.
He leads me through the hallway and into the kitchen where Mia and Grace are stacking the dishwasher. European Pigtails is nowhere to be seen.
“I’m going to show Anastasia the backyard,” Christian says innocently to his mother. She waves us out with a smile as Mia heads back to the dining room.
We step out onto a grey flagstone patio area lit by recessed lights in the flagstones. There are shrubs in grey stone tubs and a chic metal table and chairs set up in one corner. Christian walks past those, up some steps, and onto a vast lawn that leads down to the bay… oh my – it’s beautiful. Seattle twinkles on the horizon, and the cool, bright, May moon etches a sparkling silver path across the water toward a jetty where two boats are moored. Beside the jetty stands a boathouse. It is so picturesque, so peaceful. I stand and gape for a moment.
Christian pulls me behind him, and my heels sink into the soft grass.
“Stop, please.” I am stumbling in his wake.
He stops and gazes at me, his expression unfathomable.
“My heels. I need to take my shoes off.”
“Don’t bother,” he says, and he bends down and scoops me over his shoulder. I squeal loudly with shocked surprise, and he gives me a ringing slap on my behind.
“Keep your voice down,” he growls.
Oh no… this is not good, my subconscious is quaking at the knees. He’s mad about something – could be José, Georgia, no panties, biting my lip. Jeez, he’s easy to rile.
“Where are we going?” I breathe.
“Boathouse,” he snaps.
I hang on to his hips as I’m tipped upside-down, and he strides purposefully in the moonlight across the lawn.
“Why?” I sound breathless, bouncing on this shoulder.
“I need to be alone with you.”
“What for?”
“Because I’m going to spank and then fuck you.”
“Why?” I whimper softly.
“You know why,” he hisses.
“I thought you were an in-the-moment guy?” I plead breathlessly.
“Anastasia, I’m in the moment, trust me.”
Holy fuck.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 18 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 18


Dr. Greene is tall, blond, and immaculate, dressed in a royal blue suit. I’m reminded of the women who work in Christian’s office. She’s like an identikit model – another Stepford blonde. Her long hair is swept up in an elegant chignon. She must be in her early forties.
“Mr. Grey.” She shakes Christian’s outstretched hand.
“Thank you for coming at such short notice,” Christian says.
“Thank you for making it worth my while, Mr. Grey. Miss Steele.” She smiles, her eyes cool and assessing.
We shake hands, and I know she’s one of those women who doesn’t tolerate fools gladly. Like Kate. I like her immediately. She gives Christian a pointed stare, and after an awkward beat, he takes his cue.
“I’ll be downstairs,” he mutters, and he leaves what will be my bedroom.
“Well Miss Steele. Mr. Grey is paying me a small fortune to attend to you. What can I do for you?”
After a thorough examination and lengthy discussion, Dr. Greene and I decide on the mini pill. She writes me a pre-paid prescription and instructs me to pick them up tomorrow. I love her no-nonsense attitude – she has lectured me until she’s as blue as her dress about taking it at the same time every day. And I can tell she’s burning with curiosity about my so-called relationship with Mr. Grey. I don’t give her any details. Somehow I don’t think
she’d look so calm and collected if she’d seen his Red Room of Pain. I flush as we pass its closed door and head back downstairs to the art gallery that is Christian’s living room.
Christian is reading, seated on his couch. A breathtaking aria is playing on the music system, swirling round him, cocooning him, filling the room with a sweet, soulful song. For a moment, he looks serene. He turns and glances at us when we enter and smiles warmly at me.
“Are you done?” he asks as if he’s genuinely interested. He points the remote at a sleek white box beneath the fireplace that houses his iPod, and the exquisite melody fades but continues in the background. Standing, he strolls towards us.
“Yes, Mr. Grey. Look after her; she’s a beautiful, bright young woman.”
Christian is taken aback – as am I. What an inappropriate thing for a doctor to say. Is she giving him some kind of not so subtle warning? Christian recovers himself.
“I fully intend to,” he mutters, bemused.
Gazing at him, I shrug, embarrassed.
“I’ll send you my bill,” she says crisply as she shakes his hand.
“Good day, and good luck to you, Ana.” She smiles, her eyes crinkling as she does when we shake hands.
Taylor appears from nowhere to escort her through the double doors and out to the elevator. How does he do that? Where does he lurk?
“How was that?” Christian asks.
“Fine, thank you. She said that I had to abstain from all sexual activity for the next four weeks.”
Christian’s mouth drops open in shock, and I cannot keep a straight face any longer and grin at him like an idiot.
He narrows his eyes, and I immediately stop laughing. In fact, he looks rather forbidding. Oh shit. My subconscious quails in the corner as all the blood drains from my face, and I imagine him putting me across his knee again.
“Gotcha!” he says and smirks. He grabs me around my waist and pulls me up against him. “You are incorrigible, Miss Steele,” he murmurs, staring down into my eyes as he weaves his fingers into my hair, holding me firmly in place. He kisses me, hard, and I cling on to his muscular arms for support.
“As much as I’d like to take you here, now, you need to eat and so do I. I don’t want you passing out on me later,” he murmurs against my lips.
“Is that all you want me for – my body?” I whisper.
“That and your smart mouth,” he breathes.
He kisses me again passionately, and then abruptly releases me, taking my hand and leading me to the kitchen. I am reeling. One minute we’re joking and the next… I fan my heated face. He’s just sex on legs, and now I have to recover my equilibrium and eat something. The aria is still playing in the background.
“What’s the music?”
“Villa Lobos, an aria from Bachianas Brasileiras. Good, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” I murmur in total agreement.
The breakfast bar is laid for two; Christian takes a salad bowl from the fridge.
“Chicken caesar salad okay with you?”
Oh thank heavens, nothing too heavy.
“Yes, fine, thank you.”
I watch as he moves gracefully through his kitchen. He’s so at ease with his body on one level, but then he doesn’t like to be touched… so maybe deep down he isn’t. No man is an island, I muse – except perhaps Christian Grey.
“What are you thinking?” he asks, pulling me from my reverie. I flush.
“I was just watching the way you move.”
He raises an eyebrow, amused.
“And?” he says dryly.
I flush some more.
“You’re very graceful.”
“Why thank you, Miss Steele,” he murmurs. He sits down beside me, holding a bottle of wine. “Chablis?”
“Help yourself to salad,” he says, his voice soft.
“Tell me – what method did you opt for?”
I am momentarily thrown by his question, when I realize he’s talking about Dr. Greene’s visit.
“Mini pill.”
He frowns.
“And will you remember to take it regularly, at the right time, every day?”
Jeez… of course I will. How does he know? I blush at the thought, probably from one or more of the fifteen.
“I’m sure you’ll remind me,” I murmur dryly.
He glances at me with amused condescension.
“I’ll put an alarm on my calendar.” He smirks. “Eat.”
The chicken caesar is delicious. To my surprise, I’m famished, and for the first time since I’ve been with him, I finish my meal before he does. The wine is crisp, clean, and fruity.
“Eager as ever, Miss Steele?” he smiles down at my empty plate.
I look at him from beneath my lashes.
“Yes,” I whisper.
His breath hitches. And as he stares down at me, I feel the atmosphere between us slowly shift, evolve… charge. His look goes from dark to smoldering, taking me with him. He stands, closing the distance between us, and tugs me off my bar stool into his arms.
“Do you want to do this?” he breathes, looking down at me intently.
“I haven’t signed anything.”
“I know – but I’m breaking all the rules these days.”
“Are you going to hit me?”
“Yes, but it won’t be to hurt you. I don’t want to punish you right now. If you’d caught me yesterday evening, well, that would have been a different story.”
Holy cow. He wants to hurt me… how do I deal with this? I can’t hide the horror on my face.
“Don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise, Anastasia. One of the reasons people like me do this is because we either like to give or receive pain. It’s very simple. You don’t, so I spent a great deal of time yesterday thinking about that.”
He pulls me against him, and his erection presses into my belly. I should run, but I can’t. I’m drawn to him on some deep, elemental level, that I can’t begin to understand.
“Did you reach any conclusions?” I whisper.
“No, and right now, I just want to tie you up and fuck you senseless. Are you ready for that?”
“Yes,” I breathe as everything in my body tightens at once… wow.
“Good. Come.” He takes my hand and, leaving all the dirty dishes on the breakfast bar, and we head upstairs.
My heart starts pounding. This is it. I’m really going to do this. My inner goddess is spinning like a world-class ballerina, pirouette after pirouette. He opens the door to his playroom, standing back for me to walk through, and I am once more in the Red Room of Pain.
It’s the same, the smell of leather, citrus, polish and dark wood, all very sensual. My blood is running heated and scared through my system – adrenaline mixed with lust and longing. It’s a heady, potent cocktail. Christian’s stance has changed completely, subtly altered, harder and meaner. He gazes down at me and his eyes are heated, lustful… hypnotic.
“When you’re in here, you are completely mine,” he breathes, each word slow and measured. “To do with as I see fit. Do you understand?”
His gaze is so intense. I nod, my mouth dry, my heart thumping for a way out of my chest.
“Take your shoes off,” he orders softly.
I swallow, and rather clumsily, I take them off. He bends and picks them up and deposits them beside the door.
“Good. Don’t hesitate when I ask you to do something. Now I’m going to peel you out of this dress. Something I’ve wanted to do for a few days if I recall. I want you to be comfortable with your body, Anastasia. You have a beautiful body, and I like to look at it. It is a joy to behold. In fact, I could gaze at you all day, and I want you unembarrassed and unashamed of your nakedness. Do you understand?”
“Yes, what?” He leans over me, glaring.
“Yes, Sir.”
“Do you mean that?” he snaps.
“Yes, Sir.”
“Good. Lift your arms up over your head.”
I do as instructed, and he reaches down and grabs the hem. Slowly, he pulls my dress up over my thighs, my hips, my belly, my breasts, my shoulders, and over my head. He stands back to examine me and absentmindedly folds my dress, not taking his eyes off me. He places it on the large chest beside the door. Reaching up, he pulls at my chin, his touch searing me.
“You’re biting your lip,” he breathes. “You know what that does to me,” he adds darkly. “Turn around.”
I turn immediately, no hesitation. He unclasps my bra and then taking both straps, he slowly pulls them down my arms, brushing my skin with his fingers and the tip of his thumbnails as he slides my bra off. His touch sends shivers down my spine, waking every nerve ending in my body. He’s standing behind me, so close that I feel the heat radiating from him, warming me, warming me all over. He pulls my hair so it’s all hanging down my back, grasps a handful at my nape, and angles my head to one side. He runs his nose down my exposed neck, inhaling all the way, then back up to my ear. The muscles in my belly clench, carnal and wanting. Jeez, he’s hardly touched me, and I want him.
“You smell as divine as ever, Anastasia,” he whispers as he places a soft kiss beneath my ear.
I moan.
“Quiet,” he breathes. “Don’t make a sound.”
Pulling my hair behind me, to my surprise, he starts braiding it in one large braid, his fingers fast and deft. He ties it with an unseen hair tie when he’s finished and gives it a quick tug so I’m forced back against him.
“I like your hair braided in here,” he whispers.
Hmm… why?
He releases my hair.
“Turn around,” he orders.
I do as I’m bid, my breathing shallow, fear and longing mixed together. It’s an intoxicating mix.
“When I tell you to come in here, this is how you will dress. Just in your panties. Do you understand?”
“Yes, what?” He glowers at me.
“Yes, Sir.”
A trace of a smile lifts the corner of his mouth.
“Good girl.” His eyes burn into mine. “When I tell you to come in here, I expect you to kneel over there.” He points to a spot beside the door. “Do it now.”
I blink processing his words, turn, and rather clumsily kneel as directed.
“You can sit back on your heels.”
I sit back.
“Place your hands and forearms flat on your thighs. Good. Now part your knees. Wider. Wider. Perfect. Look down at the floor.”
He walks over to me, and I can see his feet and shins in my field of vision. Naked feet. I should be taking notes if he wants me to remember. He reaches down and grasps my braid again, then pulls my head back so I am looking up at him. It’s only just not painful.
“Will you remember this position, Anastasia?”
“Yes, Sir.”
“Good. Stay here, don’t move.” He leaves the room.
I’m on my knees, waiting. Where’s he gone? What is he going to do to me? Time shifts. I have no idea how long he leaves me like this… a few minutes, five, ten? My breathing becomes shallower, the anticipation is devouring me from the inside out.
And suddenly he’s back – and all at once I’m calmer and more excited in the same breath. Could I be more excited? I can see his feet. He’s changed his jeans. These are older, ripped, soft, and over-washed. Holy cow. These jeans are hot. He shuts the door and hangs something on the back.
“Good girl, Anastasia. You look lovely like that. Well done. Stand up.”
I stand, but I keep my face down.
“You may look at me.”
I peek up at him, and he’s staring at me intently, assessing, but his eyes soften. He’s taken off his shirt. Oh my… I want to touch him. The top button of his jeans is undone.
“I’m going to chain you now, Anastasia. Give me your right hand.”
I give him my hand. He turns it palm up, and before I know it, he swats the center with a riding crop I hadn’t noticed is in his right hand. It happens so quickly that the surprise hardly registers. Even more astonishing – it doesn’t hurt. Well, not much, just a slight ringing sting.
“How does that feel?” he asks.
I blink at him, confused.
“Answer me.”
“Okay.” I frown.
“Don’t frown.”
I blink and try for impassive. I succeed.
“Did that hurt?”
“This is not going to hurt. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” My voice is uncertain. Is it really not going to hurt?
“I mean it,” he says.
Jeez, my breathing is so shallow. Does he know what I’m thinking? He shows me the crop. It’s brown plaited leather. My eyes jerk up to meet his, and they’re alight with fire and a trace of amusement.
“We aim to please, Miss Steele,” he murmurs. “Come.” He takes my elbow and moves me to beneath the grid. He reaches up and takes down some shackles with black leather cuffs.
“This grid is designed so the shackles move across the grid.”
I glance up. Holy shit – it’s like a subway map.
“We’re going to start here, but I want to fuck you standing up. So we’ll end up by the wall over there.” He points with the riding crop to where the large wooden X is on the wall.
“Put your hands above your head.”
I oblige immediately, feeling like I’m exiting my body – a casual observer of events as they unfold around me. This is beyond fascinating, beyond erotic. It’s singularly the most exciting and scary thing I’ve ever done. I’m entrusting myself to a beautiful man who, by his own admission, is fifty shades of fucked-up. I suppress the brief thrill of fear. Kate and Elliot, they know I’m here.
He stands very close as he fastens the cuffs. I’m staring at his chest. His proximity is heavenly. He smells of body wash and Christian, an inebriating mix, and that drags me
back into the now. I want to run my nose and tongue through that smattering of chest hair. I could just lean forward…
He steps back and gazes at me, his expression hooded, salacious, carnal, and I am helpless, my hands tied, but just looking at his lovely face, reading his need and longing for me, I can feel the dampness between my legs. He walks slowly round me.
“You look mighty fine trussed up like this, Miss Steele. And your smart mouth, quiet for now. I like that.”
Standing in front of me again, he hooks his fingers into my panties, and at a most unhurried pace, peels them down my legs, stripping me agonizingly slowly, so that he ends up kneeling in front of me. Not taking his eyes off mine, he scrunches my panties in his hand, holds them up to his nose, and inhales deeply. Holy fuck. Did he just do that? He grins wickedly at me and tucks them into the pocket of his jeans.
Uncoiling from the floor, rising lazily, like a jungle cat, he points the end of the riding crop at my navel, leisurely circling it – tantalizing me. At the touch of the leather, I quiver and gasp. He walks round me again, trailing the crop around the middle of my body. On his second circuit, he suddenly flicks the crop, and it hits me underneath my behind… against my sex. I cry out in surprise as all my nerve endings stand to attention. I pull against the restraints. The shock runs through me, and it’s the sweetest strangest, hedonistic feeling.
“Quiet,” he whispers as he walks around me again, the crop slightly higher around the middle of my body. This time when he flicks it against me in the same place, I’m anticipating it… oh my. My body convulses at the sweet, stinging bite.
As he makes his way around me, he flicks again, this time hitting my nipple, and I throw my head back as my nerve endings sing. He hits the other… a brief, swift, sweet chastisement. My nipples harden and elongate from the assault, and I moan loudly, pulling on my leather cuffs.
“Does that feel good?” he breathes.
He hits me again across the buttocks. The crop stings this time.
“Yes what?”
“Yes, Sir,” I whimper.
He comes to a stop… but I can no longer see him. My eyes are closed as I try to absorb the myriad of sensations coursing through my body. Very slowly, he rains small, biting licks of the crop down my belly, heading south. I know where this is leading, and I try and psyche myself up for it – but when he hits my clitoris, I cry out loudly.
“Oh… please!” I groan.
“Quiet,” he orders, and he hits me again on my behind.
I did not expect this to be like this… I am lost. Lost in a sea of sensation. And suddenly, he’s dragging the crop against my sex, through my pubic hair, down to the entrance of my vagina.
“See how wet you are for this, Anastasia. Open your eyes and your mouth.”
I do as I’m told, completely seduced. He pushes the tip of the crop into my mouth, like my dream. Holy shit.
“See how you taste. Suck. Suck hard, baby.”
My mouth closes around the crop as my eyes lock on his. I can taste the rich leather and the saltiness of my arousal. His eyes are blazing. He’s in his element.
He pulls the tip from my mouth, and he stands forward and grabs me and kisses me hard, his tongue invading my mouth. Wrapping his arms around me, he pulls me against him. His chest crushes mine, and I itch to touch, but I can’t, my hands, useless above me.
“Oh, Anastasia, you taste mighty fine,” he breathes. “Shall I make you come?”
“Please,” I beg.
The crop bites my buttock. Ow!
“Please, what?”
“Please, Sir,” I whimper.
He smiles at me, triumphant.
“With this?” He holds the crop up so I can see it.
“Yes, Sir.”
“Are you sure?” He looks sternly at me.
“Yes, please, Sir.”
“Close your eyes.”
I shut the room out, him out… the crop out. He starts small, biting licks of the crop against my belly once more. Moving down, soft small licks against my clitoris, once, twice, three times, again and again, until finally, that’s it – I can take no more – and I come, gloriously, loudly, sagging weakly. His arms curl around me as my legs turn to jelly. I dissolve in his embrace, my head against his chest, and I’m mewling and whimpering as the aftershocks of my orgasm consume me. He lifts me, and suddenly we’re moving, my arms still tethered above my head, and I can feel the cool wood of the polished cross at my back, and he’s popping the buttons on his jeans. He puts me down against the cross briefly while he slides on a condom, and then his hands wrap around my thighs as he lifts me again.
“Lift your legs, baby, wrap them round me.”
I feel so weak, but I do as he asks as he wraps my legs around his hips and positions himself beneath me. With one thrust, he’s inside me, and I cry out again, listening to his muffled moan at my ear. My arms are resting on his shoulders as he thrusts into me. Jeez, it’s deep this way. He thrusts again and again, his face at my neck, his harsh breathing at my throat. I feel the build up again. Jeez no… not again… I don’t think my body will withstand another earth-shattering moment. But I have no choice… and with an inevitability that’s becoming familiar, I let go and come again, and it’s sweet and agonizing and intense. I lose all sense of self. Christian follows, shouting his release through clenched teeth and holding me hard and close as he does.
He pulls out of me swiftly and sets me down against the cross, his body supporting mine. Unbuckling the cuffs, he frees my hands, and we both sink to the floor. He pulls me into his lap, cradling me, and I lean my head against his chest. If I had the strength, I’d touch him, but I don’t. Belatedly, I realize he’s still wearing his jeans.
“Well done, baby,” he murmurs. “Did that hurt?”
“No,” I breathe. I can barely keep my eyes open. Why am I so tired?
“Did you expect it to?” he whispers as he holds me close, his fingers pushing some escaped tendrils of hair off my face.
“You see most of your fear is in your head, Anastasia,” he pauses. “Would you do it again?”
I think for a moment as fatigue clouds my brain… Again?
“Yes.” My voice is so soft.
He hugs me tightly.
“Good. So would I,” he murmurs, then leans down and softly kisses the top of my head.
“And I haven’t finished with you yet.”
Not finished with me yet. Holy Moses. There’s no way I can do any more. I am utterly spent and fighting an overwhelming desire to sleep. I’m leaning against his chest, my eyes are closed, and he’s wrapped around me – arms and legs – and I feel… safe, and oh so comfortable. Will he let me sleep, perchance to dream? My mouth quirks up at the silly thought, and turning my face into Christian’s chest, I inhale his unique scent and nuzzle him, but immediately he tenses… oh crap. I open my eyes and glance up at him. He’s staring down at me.
“Don’t,” he breathes in warning.
I flush and look back at his chest in longing. I want to run my tongue through the hair, kiss him, and for the first time, I notice he has a few random and faint small, round scars dotted around his chest. Chicken pox? Measles? I think absently.
“Kneel by the door,” he orders as he sits back, putting his hands on his knees, effectively releasing me. No longer warm, the temperature of his voice has dropped several degrees.
I stumble clumsily up into a standing position and scoot over to the door and kneel as instructed. I’m shaky and very, very tired, monumentally confused. Who would have thought I could have found such gratification in this room. Who could have thought it would be so exhausting? My limbs are deliciously heavy, sated. My inner goddess has a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the outside of her room.
Christian is moving about in the periphery of my vision. My eyes start to droop.
“Boring you, am I, Miss Steele?”
I jump awake, and Christian is standing in front of me, his arms crossed glaring down at me. Oh shit, caught napping – this is not going to be good. His eyes soften as I gaze up at him.
“Stand up,” he orders.
I climb warily to my feet. He stares at me, and his mouths quirks up.
“You’re shattered, aren’t you?”
I nod shyly, flushing.
“Stamina, Miss Steele.” He narrows his eyes at me. “I haven’t had my fill of you yet. Hold out your hands in front as if you’re praying.”
I blink at him. Praying! Praying for you to go easy on me. I do as I’m told. He takes a cable tie and fastens it around my wrists, tightening the plastic. Holy hell. My eyes fly to his.
“Look familiar,” he asks, unable to conceal his smile.
Jeez… the plastic cable ties. Restocking at Clayton’s! It all becomes clear. I gape up at him as adrenaline spikes though my body anew. Okay – that’s got my attention – I’m awake now.
“I have scissors here.” He holds them up for me to see. “I can cut you out of this in a moment.”
I try to pull my wrists apart, testing my bonds, and as I do, the plastic bites into my flesh – it’s sore, but if I relax my wrists they’re fine – the tie is not cutting into my skin.
“Come.” He takes my hands and leads me over to the four-poster bed. I notice now that it has dark red sheets on it and a shackle at each corner.
“I want more – much, much more,” he leans down and whispers in my ear.
And my heartbeat starts pounding again. Oh boy.
“But I’ll make this quick. You’re tired. Hold on to the post,” he says.
I frown. Not on the bed then? I find I can part my hands as I grasp the ornately carved wooden post.
“Lower,” he orders. “Good. Don’t let go. If you do, I’ll spank you. Understand?”
“Yes, Sir.”
He stands behind me and grasps my hips, and then quickly lifts me backward so I’m bending forward, holding the post.
“Don’t let go, Anastasia,” he warns. “I’m going to fuck you hard from behind. Hold the post to support your weight. Understand?”
He smacks me across my behind with his hand. Ow… It stings.
“Yes, Sir,” I mutter quickly.
“Part your legs.” He puts his leg between mine, and holding my hips, he pushes my right leg to the side.
“That’s better. After this, I’ll let you sleep.”
Sleep? I’m panting. I’m not thinking of sleep now. He reaches up and gently strokes my back.
“You have such beautiful skin, Anastasia,” he breathes as he bends down and kisses me along my spine, gentle feather-light kisses. At the same time, his hands move round to my front palming my breasts, and as he does this, he traps my nipples between his fingers and tugs them gently.
I stifle my moan as I feel my whole body respond, coming alive once more for him.
He gently bites and sucks me at my waist, tugging my nipples, and my hands tighten on the exquisitely carved post. His hands drop away, and I hear the now familiar tear of foil, and he kicks off his jeans.
“You have such a captivating, sexy ass, Anastasia Steele. What I’d like to do to it.” His hands smooth and shape each of my buttocks, then his fingers glide down, and he slips two fingers inside me.
“So wet. You never disappoint, Miss Steele,” he whispers, and I hear the wonder in his voice. “Hold tight… this is going to be quick, baby.”
He grabs my hips and positions himself, and I brace myself for his assault. But he reaches over me and grabs my braid near the end and winds it round his wrist to my nape
holding my head in place. Very slowly he eases into me, pulling my hair at the same time… oh the fullness. He eases out of me slowly, and his other hand grabs my hip, holding tight, and then he slams into me, jolting me forward.
“Hold on, Anastasia!” he shouts through clenched teeth.
I grip harder round the post and push back against him as he continues his merciless onslaught, again and again, his fingers digging into my hip. My arms are aching, my legs feel uncertain, my scalp is getting sore from his tugging my hair… and I can feel a gathering deep inside me. Oh no… and for the first time, I fear my orgasm… if I come… I’ll collapse. Christian continues to move roughly against me, in me, his breathing harsh, moaning, groaning. My body is responding… how? I feel a quickening. But suddenly, Christian stills, slamming really deep.
“Come on, Ana, give it to me,” he groans, and my name on his lips sends me over the edge as I become all body and spiraling sensation and sweet, sweet release, and then completely and utterly mindless.
When sense returns, I’m lying on him. He’s on the floor, and I’m lying on top of him, my back to his front, and I’m staring at the ceiling, all post-coital, glowing, shattered. Oh… the karabiners, I think absently – I’d forgotten about those. Christian nuzzles my ear.
“Hold up your hands,” he says softly.
My arms feel like they’re made of lead, but I hold them up. He wields the scissors and passes one blade under the plastic.
“I declare this Ana open,” he breathes, and cuts the plastic.
I giggle and rub my wrists as they’re freed. I feel his grin.
“That is such a lovely sound,” he says wistfully. He sits suddenly, taking me with him so that I’m once more sitting in his lap.
“That’s my fault,” he says and shifts me so that he can rub my shoulders and arms. Gently he massages some life back into my limbs
I glance up at him behind me, trying to understand what he means.
“That you don’t giggle more often.”
“I’m not a great giggler,” I mumble sleepily.
“Oh, but when it happens, Miss Steele, ‘tis a wonder and joy to behold.”
“Very flowery, Mr. Grey,” I mutter, trying to keep my eyes open.
His eyes soften, and he smiles.
“I’d say you’re thoroughly fucked and in need of sleep.”
“That wasn’t flowery at all,” I grumble playfully.
He grins and gently lifts me off him and stands, gloriously naked. I wish momentarily that I were more awake to really appreciate him. Picking up his jeans, he slides them back on, commando.
“Don’t want to frighten Taylor, or Mrs. Jones for that matter,” he mutters.
Hmm… they must know what a kinky bastard he is. The thought preoccupies me.
He stoops to help me to my feet and leads me to the door, on the back of which hangs a grey waffle robe. He patiently dresses me as if I’m a small child. I don’t have the strength to lift my arms. When I’m covered and respectable, he leans down and kisses me gently, his mouth quirks up in a smile.
“Bed,” he says.
Oh… no…
“For sleep,” he adds reassuringly when he sees my expression.
Suddenly, he scoops me up and carries me curled against his chest to the room along the corridor where earlier today Dr. Greene examined me. My head drops against his chest. I am exhausted. I don’t remember ever being this tired. Pulling back the duvet, he lays me down, and even more surprisingly, climbs in beside me and holds me close.
“Sleep now, gorgeous girl,” he whispers, and he kisses my hair.
And before I can make a facetious comment, I’m asleep.

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 17 (Read Online Free)


Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 17


The candle flame is too hot. It flickers and dances in the over-warm breeze, a breeze that brings no respite from the heat. Soft gossamer wings flutter to and fro in the dark, sprinkling dusty scales in the circle of light. I’m struggling to resist, but I’m drawn. And then it’s so bright, and I am flying too close to the sun, dazzled by the light, fried and melting from the heat, weary in my endeavors to stay airborne. I am so warm. The heat… it’s stifling, overpowering. It wakes me.
I open my eyes, and I’m draped in Christian Grey. He’s wrapped around me like a victory flag. He’s fast asleep with his head on my chest, his arm over me, holding me close, one of his legs thrown over and hooked around both of mine. He’s suffocating me with his body heat, and he’s heavy. I take a moment to absorb that he’s still in my bed and fast asleep, and it’s light outside – morning. He has spent the whole night with me.
My right arm is stretched, no doubt in search of a cool spot, and as I process the fact that he’s still with me, the thought occurs that I can touch him. He’s asleep. Tentatively, I lift my hand and run the tips of my fingers down his back. Deep in his throat, I hear a faint distressed groan, and he stirs. He nuzzles my chest, inhaling deeply as he wakes. Sleepy, blinking gray eyes meet mine beneath his tousled mop of hair.
“Good morning,” he mumbles and frowns. “Jesus, even in my sleep I’m drawn to you.” He moves slowly, unpeeling his limbs from me as he gets his bearings. I become
aware of his erection against my hip. He notices my wide-eyed reaction, and he smiles a slow sexy smile.
“Hmm… this has possibilities, but I think we should wait until Sunday.” He leans down and nuzzles my ear with his nose.
I flush, but then I feel seven shades of scarlet from his heat.
“You’re very hot,” I murmur.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” he murmurs and presses himself against me, suggestively.
I flush some more. That’s not what I meant. He props himself up on his elbow gazing down at me, amused. He bends, and to my surprise, plants a gentle kiss on my lips.
“Sleep well?” he asks.
I nod, staring up at him, and I realize that I’ve slept very well except maybe for the last half-hour when I was too hot.
“So did I.” He frowns. “Yes, really well.” He raises his eyebrows in confused surprise. “What’s the time?”
I glance at my alarm.
“It’s 7:30.”
“7:30… shit.” He scrambles out of bed and drags on his jeans.
It is my turn to look amused as I sit up. Christian Grey is late and flustered. This is something I have never seen before. I belatedly realize that my behind is no longer sore.
“You are such a bad influence on me. I have a meeting. I have to go – I have to be in Portland at eight. Are you smirking at me?”
He grins.
“I’m late. I don’t do late. Another first, Miss Steele.” He pulls on his jacket and then bends down and grasps my head, his hands on either side.
“Sunday,” he says, and the word is pregnant with an unspoken promise. Everything deep in my body uncurls and then clenches in delicious anticipation, the feeling is exquisite.
Holy hell, if my mind could just keep up with my body. He leans forward and kisses me quickly. He grabs his stuff from my side table and his shoes – which he doesn’t put on.
“Taylor will come and sort your Beetle. I was serious. Don’t drive it. I’ll see you at my place on Sunday. I’ll email you a time.” And like a whirlwind, he’s gone.
Oh my, Christian Grey spent the night with me, and I feel rested. And there was no sex, only cuddling. He told me he never slept with anyone – but he’s slept three times with me. I grin and slowly climb out of my bed. I feel more optimistic than I have for the last day or so. I head for the kitchen, needing a cup of tea.
After breakfast, I shower and dress quickly for my last day at Clayton’s. It is the end of an era – goodbye to Mr. & Mrs. Clayton, WSU, Vancouver, the apartment, my Beetle. I glance at the mean machine – it’s only 7:52. I have time.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Assault and Battery: The after-effects
Date: May 27 2011 08:05
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
You wanted to know why I felt confused after you – which euphemism should we apply – spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me. Well during the whole alarming process I felt demeaned, debased and abused. And much to my mortification, you’re right, I was aroused, and that was unexpected. As you are well aware, all things sexual are new to me – I only wish I was more experienced and therefore more prepared. I was shocked to feel aroused.
What really worried me was how I felt afterwards. And that’s more difficult to articulate. I was happy that you were happy. I felt relieved that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And when I was lying in your arms, I felt – sated. But I feel very uncomfortable, guilty even, feeling that way. It doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m confused as a result. Does that answer your question?
I hope the world of Mergers and Acquisitions is as stimulating as ever… and that you weren’t too late.
Thank you for staying with me.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Free Your Mind
Date: May 27 2011 08:24
To: Anastasia Steele
Interesting… if slightly overstated title heading Miss Steele.
To answer your points:
• I’ll go with spanking – as that’s what it was.
• So you felt demeaned, debased, abused & assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this? Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.
• I am grateful for your inexperience. I value it, and I’m only beginning to understand what it means. Simply put… it means that you are mine in every way.
• Yes, you were aroused, which in turn was very arousing, there’s nothing wrong with that.
• Happy does not even begin to cover how I felt. Ecstatic joy comes close.
• Punishment spanking hurts far more than sensual spanking – so that’s about as hard as it gets, unless of course you commit some major transgression, in which case I’ll use some implement to punish you with. My hand was very sore. But I like that.
• I felt sated too – more so than you could ever know.
• Don’t waste your energy on guilt, feelings of wrongdoing etc. We are consenting adults and what we do behind closed doors is between ourselves. You need to free your mind and listen to your body.
• The world of M&A is not nearly as stimulating as you are Miss Steele.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Holy crap… mine in every way. My breath hitches.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Consenting Adults!
Date: May 27 2011 08:26
To: Christian Grey
Aren’t you in a meeting?
I’m very glad your hand was sore.
And if I listened to my body, I’d be in Alaska by now.
PS: I will think about embracing these feelings.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: You Didn’t Call the Cops
Date: May 27 2011 08:35
To: Anastasia Steele
Miss Steele
I am in a meeting discussing the futures market if you’re really interested.
For the record – you stood beside me knowing what I was going to do.
You didn’t at any time ask me to stop – you didn’t use either safe word.
You are an adult – you have choices.
Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the next time my palm is ringing with pain.
You’re obviously not listening to the right part of your body.
Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you.
I can track your cell phone – remember?
Go to work.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
I scowl at the screen. He’s right of course. It’s my choice. Hmm. Is he serious about coming to find me, should I decide to escape for a while? My mind flits briefly to my mother’s offer. I hit reply.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Stalker
Date: May 27 2011 08:36
To: Christian Grey
Have you sought therapy for your stalker tendencies?
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Stalker? Me?
Date: May 27 2011 08:38
To: Anastasia Steele
I pay the eminent Dr. Flynn a small fortune with regard to my stalker and other tendencies.
Go to work.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Expensive Charlatans
Date: May 27 2011 08:40
To: Christian Grey
May I humbly suggest you seek a second opinion?
I am not sure that Dr. Flynn is very effective.
Miss Steele
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Second Opinions
Date: May 27 2011 08:43
To: Anastasia Steele
Not that it’s any of your business, humble or otherwise, but Dr. Flynn is the second
You will have to speed, in your new car, putting yourself at unnecessary risk – I think that’s against the rules.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Date: May 27 2011 08:47
To: Christian Grey
As the object of your stalker tendencies – I think it is my business actually.
I haven’t signed yet. So rules schmules. And I don’t start until 9:30.
Miss Steele
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Descriptive Linguistics
Date: May 27 2011 08:49
To: Anastasia Steele
Schmules? Not sure where that appears in Webster’s Dictionary
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Descriptive Linguistics
Date: May 27 2011 08:52
To: Christian Grey
It’s between control freak and stalker.
And descriptive linguistics is a hard limit for me.
Will you stop bothering me now?
I’d like to go to work in my new car.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Challenging but amusing Young Women
Date: May 27 2011 08:56
To: Anastasia Steele
My palm is twitching.
Drive safely Miss Steele.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
The Audi is a joy to drive. It has power steering. Wanda, my Beetle, has no power in it at all – anywhere, so my daily workout, which was driving my Beetle, will cease. Oh, but I will have a personal trainer to contend with, according to Christian’s rules. I frown. I hate exercising.
While I am driving, I try and analyze our email exchange. He’s a patronizing son-of-a-bitch sometimes. And then I think of Grace and I feel guilty. But of course, she wasn’t his birth mother. Hmm that’s a whole world of unknown pain. Well, patronizing son-of-a-bitch works well then. Yes. I’m an adult, thank you for reminding me, Christian Grey, and it is my choice. The problem is, I just want Christian, not all his… baggage – and right now he has a 747 hold’s worth of baggage. Could I just lie back and embrace it? Like a submissive? I’ve said I’d try. It’s an awfully big ask.
I pull into the parking lot at Clayton’s. As I make my way in, I can hardly believe it’s my last day. Fortunately, the store is busy and time passes quickly. At lunchtime, Mr. Clayton summons me from the stockroom. He’s standing beside a motorcycle courier.
“Miss Steele?” the courier asks. I frown questioningly at Mr. Clayton, who shrugs, as puzzled as me. My heart sinks. What has Christian sent me now? I sign for the small package and open it straight away. It’s a BlackBerry. My heart sinks further. I switch it on.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: BlackBerry ON LOAN
Date: May 27 2011 11:15
To: Anastasia Steele
I need to be able to contact you at all times, and since this is your most honest form of communication, I figured you needed a BlackBerry.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Consumerism Gone Mad
Date: May 27 2011 13:22
To: Christian Grey
I think you need to call Dr. Flynn right now.
Your stalker tendencies are running wild.
I am at work. I will email you when I get home.
Thank you for yet another gadget.
I wasn’t wrong when I said you were the ultimate consumer.
Why do you do this?
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Sagacity from one so young
Date: May 27 2011 13:24
To: Anastasia Steele
Fair point-well made, as ever Miss Steele.
Dr. Flynn is on vacation.
And I do this because I can.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
I put the thing in my back pocket, hating it already. Emailing Christian is addictive, but I am supposed to be working. It buzzes once against my behind… how apt, I think ironically, but summoning all my willpower, I ignore it.
At four, Mr. and Mrs. Clayton gather all the other employees in the shop, and during a hair-curlingly embarrassing speech, present me with a check for three hundred dollars. In that moment, three weeks of – exams, graduation, intense, fucked-up billionaires, deflowering,
hard & soft limits, playrooms with no consoles, helicopter rides – and the fact that I will move tomorrow, all well up inside me. Amazingly, I hold myself together. My subconscious is in awe. I hug the Claytons hard. They have been kind and generous employers, and I will miss them.
Kate is climbing out of her car when I arrive home.
“What’s that?” she says accusingly, pointing at the Audi. I can’t resist.
“It’s a car,” I quip. She narrows her eyes, and for a brief moment, I wonder if she’s going to put me across her knee too. “My graduation present.” I try and act nonchalant. Yes, I get expensive cars given to me everyday. Her mouth drops open.
“Generous, over-the-top bastard, isn’t he?”
I nod.
“I did try not to accept it, but frankly, it’s just not worth the fight.”
Kate purses her lips.
“No wonder you’re so overwhelmed. I did note that he stayed.”
“Yeah.” I smile wistfully.
“Shall we finish packing?”
I nod and follow her inside. I check the email from Christian.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Sunday
Date: May 27 2011 13:40
To: Anastasia Steele
Shall I see you at 1 p.m. Sunday?
The doctor will be at Escala to see you at 1:30.
I’m leaving for Seattle now.
I hope your move goes well, and I look forward to Sunday.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Jeez, he could be discussing the weather. I decide to email him once we’ve finished packing, he can be such fun one minute, and then he can be so formal and stuffy. It’s difficult to keep up. Honestly, it’s like an email to an employee. I roll my eyes at it defiantly and join Kate to pack.
Kate and I are in the kitchen when there’s a knock at the door. Taylor stands on the porch, looking immaculate in his suit. I notice the trace of ex-army in his buzz cut, trim physique, and his cool stare.
“Miss Steele,” he says. “I’ve come for your car.”
“Oh yes, of course. Come in, I’ll fetch the keys.”
Surely this is above and beyond the call of duty. I wonder again at Taylor’s job description. I hand him the keys, and we walk in an uncomfortable silence for me – toward the light blue Beetle. I open the door and remove the flashlight from the glove box. That’s it. I have nothing else that’s personal in the Wanda. Goodby,, Wanda. Thank you. I caress her roof as I close the passenger door.
“How long have you worked for Mr. Grey?” I ask.
“Four years, Miss Steele.”
Suddenly, I have an overwhelming urge to bombard him with questions. What this man must know about Christian, all his secrets. But then he’s probably signed an NDA. I look nervously at him. He has the same taciturn expression as Ray, and I warm to him.
“He’s a good man, Miss Steele,” he says, and he smiles slightly. With that, he gives me a little nod, climbs into my car, and drives away.
Apartment, Beetle, Claytons – it’s all change now. I shake my head as I wander back inside. And the biggest change of all is Christian Grey. Taylor thinks he’s a good man. Can I believe him?
José joins us with a Chinese take-out at eight. We’re done. We’re packed and ready to go. He brings several bottles of beer, and Kate and I sit on the couch while he’s cross-legged on the floor between us. We watch crap TV, drink beer, and as the evening wears on, we fondly and loudly reminisce as the beer takes effect. It’s been a good four years.
The atmosphere between José and I has returned to normal, the attempted kiss forgotten. Well, it’s been swept under the rug that my inner goddess is lying on, eating grapes and tapping her fingers, waiting not so patiently for Sunday. There’s a knock on the door, and my heart leaps into my throat. Is it?
Kate answers the door and is nearly knocked off her feet by Elliot. He seizes her in a Hollywood-style clinch that moves quickly into a European art house embrace. Honestly… get a room. José and I stare at each other. I’m appalled at their lack of modesty.
“Shall we walk down to the bar?” I ask José, who nods frantically. We are too uncomfortable with the unrestrained sexing unfolding in front of us. Kate looks up at me, flushed and bright-eyed.
“José and I are going for a quick drink.” I roll my eyes at her. Ha! I can still roll my eyes in my own time.
“Okay,” she grins.
“Hi Elliot, bye Elliot.”
He winks a big blue eye at me, and José and I are out of the door, giggling like teenagers.
As we stroll down to the bar, I put my arm through José’s. God, he’s so uncomplicated – I hadn’t really appreciated that before.
“You’ll still come to the opening of my show, won’t you?”
“Of course, José, when is it?”
“June 9.”
“What day is that?” I suddenly panic.
“It’s a Thursday.”
“Yeah I should make that… and you will visit us in Seattle?”
“Try and stop me.” He grins.
It’s late when I arrive back from the bar. Kate and Elliot are nowhere to be seen but boy can they be heard. Holy shit. I hope I’m not that loud. I know Christian isn’t. I flush at the thought and escape to my room. After a brief not-at-all-awkward-thank-goodness hug, José has gone. I don’t know when I’ll see him again, probably his photographic show, and once again, I’m blown away that he finally has an exhibition. I shall miss him and his boyish charm. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him about the Beetle, I know he’ll freak when he finds out, and I can only deal with one man at a time freaking out at me. Once in my room, I check the mean machine, and of course, there’s an email from Christian.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Where Are You?
Date: May 27 2011 22:14
To: Anastasia Steele
‘I am at work. I will email you when I get home.’
Are you still at work or have you packed your phone, BlackBerry and MacBook?
Call me, or I may be forced to call Elliot.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Crap… José… shit.
I grab my phone. Five missed calls and one voice message. Tentatively, I listen to the message. It’s Christian.
‘I think you need to learn to manage my expectations. I am not a patient man. If you say you are going to contact me when you finish work, then you should have the decency to do so. Otherwise, I worry, and it’s not an emotion I’m familiar with, and I don’t tolerate it very well. Call me.’
Double crap. Will he ever give me a break? I scowl at the phone. He is suffocating me. With a deep dread uncurling in my stomach, I scroll down to his number and press dial. My heart is in my mouth as I wait for him to answer. He’d probably like to beat seven shades of shit out of me. The thought is depressing.
“Hi,” he says softly, and his response knocks me off balance because I am expecting his anger, but if anything, he sounds relieved.
“Hi,” I murmur.
“I was worried about you.”
“I know. I’m sorry I didn’t reply, but I’m fine.”
He pauses for a beat.
“Did you have a pleasant evening?” He is crisply polite.
“Yes. We finished packing and Kate and I shared a Chinese take-out with José.” I close my eyes tightly as I say José’s name. Christian says nothing.
“How about you?” I ask to fill the sudden deafening chasm of silence. I will not let him guilt me out about José.
Eventually, he sighs.
“I went to a fundraising dinner. It was deathly dull. I left as soon as I could.”
He sounds so sad and resigned. My heart clenches. I picture him all those nights ago sat at the piano in his huge living room and the unbearable bittersweet melancholy of the music he was playing.
“I wish you were here,” I whisper, because I have an urge to hold him. Soothe him. Even though he won’t let me. I want his proximity.
“Do you?” he murmurs blandly. Holy mackerel. This doesn’t sound like him, and my scalp prickles with dawning apprehension.
“Yes,” I breathe. After an eternity, he sighs.
“I’ll see you Sunday?”
“Yes, Sunday,” I murmur, and a thrill courses through my body.
“Goodnight, Sir.”
My address catches him unawares, I can tell by his sharp intake of breath.
“Good luck with your move tomorrow, Anastasia.” His voice is soft. And we’re both hanging on the phone like teenagers, neither wanting to hang up.
“You hang up,” I whisper. Finally, I sense his smile.
“No, you hang up.” And I know he’s grinning.
“I don’t want to.”
“Neither do I.”
“Were you very angry with me?”
“Are you still?”
“So you’re not going to punish me?”
“No. I’m an in-the-moment kind of guy.”
“I’ve noticed.”
“You can hang up now, Miss Steele.”
“Do you really want me to, Sir?”
“Go to bed, Anastasia.”
“Yes, Sir.”
We both stay on the line.
“Do you ever think you’ll be able to do what you’re told?” He’s amused and exasperated at once.
“Maybe. We’ll see after Sunday.” And I press ‘end’ on the phone.
Elliot stands and admires his handiwork. He has re-plugged our TV into the satellite system in our Pike Place Market apartment. Kate and I flop on to the couch giggling, impressed by his prowess with a power drill. The flat screen looks odd against the brickwork of the converted warehouse, but no doubt I will get used to it.
“See, baby, easy.” He grins a wide white-toothed smile at Kate, and she almost literally dissolves into the couch.
I roll my eyes at the pair of them.
“I’d love to stay, baby, but my sister is back from Paris. It’s a compulsory family dinner tonight.”
“Can you come by after?” Kate asks tentatively, all soft and un-Katelike.
I stand and make my way over to the kitchen area on the pretense of unpacking one of the crates. They are going to get icky.
“I’ll see if I can escape,” he promises.
“I’ll come down with you.” Kate smiles.
“Laters, Ana.” Elliot grins.
“Bye, Elliot. Say hi to Christian from me.”
“Just hi?” His eyebrows shoot up suggestively.
“Yes.” I flush. He winks at me, and I go crimson as he follows Kate out of the apartment.
Elliot is adorable and so different from Christian. He’s warm, open, physical, very physical, too physical, with Kate. They can barely keep their hands off each other – to be honest it’s embarrassing – and I am pea-green with envy.
Kate returns about twenty minutes later with pizza, and we sit, surrounded by crates, in our new open space, eating straight from the box. Kate’s dad has done us proud. The apartment is not large, but it’s big enough, three bedrooms and a large living space that looks out on to Pike Place Market itself. It’s all solid wood floors and red brick, and the kitchen tops are smooth concrete, very utilitarian, very now. We both love that we will be in the heart of the city.
At eight the entry-phone buzzes. Kate leaps up – and my heart leaps into my mouth.
“Delivery, Miss Steele, Miss Kavanagh.” Disappointment flows freely and unexpectedly through my veins. It’s not Christian.
“Second floor, apartment two.”
Kate buzzes the delivery boy in. His mouth falls open when he sees Kate, all tight jeans, t-shirt, hair piled high with escaping tendrils. She has that effect on men. He holds a bottle of champagne with a helicopter-shaped balloon attached. She gives him a dazzling smile to send him on his way and proceeds to read the card out to me.
Ladies, Good luck in your new home, Christian Grey.
Kate shakes her head in disapproval.
“Why can’t he just write ‘from Christian’? And what’s with the weird helicopter balloon?”
“Charlie Tango.”
“Christian flew me to Seattle in his helicopter.” I shrug.
Kate stares at me open mouthed. I have to say – I love these occasions – Katherine Kavanagh, silent and floored, they are so rare. I take a brief and luxurious moment to enjoy it.
“Yep, he has a helicopter, which he flew himself,” I state proudly.
“Of course the obscenely rich bastard has a helicopter. Why didn’t you tell me?” Kate looks accusingly at me, but she’s smiling, shaking her head in disbelief.
“I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.”
She frowns.
“Are you going to be okay while I’m away?”
“Of course.” I answer reassuringly. New city, no job… nut-job boyfriend.
“Did you give him our address?
“No, but stalking is one of his specialties.” I muse, matter-of-fact.
Kate’s brow knits further.
“Somehow I’m not surprised. He worries me, Ana. At least it’s a good champagne and it’s chilled.”
Of course, only Christian would send chilled champagne or get his secretary to do it… or maybe Taylor. We open it there and then and find our teacups – they were the last items to be packed.
“Bollinger Grande Année Rosé 1999, an excellent vintage.” I grin at Kate, and we clink teacups.
I wake early to a gray Sunday morning after a surprisingly refreshing night’s sleep and lie awake staring at my crates. You should really be unpacking these, my subconscious nags, pursing her harpy lips together. No… today’s the day. My inner goddess is beside herself, hopping from foot to foot. Anticipation hangs heavy and portentous over my head like a dark tropical storm cloud. Butterflies flood my belly – as well as a darker, carnal, captivating ache as I try to imagine what he will do to me… and of course, I have to sign that damned contract or do I? I hear the ping of incoming mail from the mean machine on the floor beside my bed.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: My Life in Numbers
Date: May 29 2011 08:04
To: Anastasia Steele
If you drive you’ll need this access code for the underground garage at Escala: 146963
Park in bay 5 – it’s one of mine.
Code for the elevator: 1880
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: An excellent Vintage
Date: May 29 2011 08:08
To: Christian Grey
Yes Sir. Understood.
Thank you for the champagne and the blow-up Charlie Tango, which is now tied to my bed.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Envy
Date: May 29 2011 08:11
To: Anastasia Steele
You’re welcome.
Don’t be late.
Lucky Charlie Tango.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
I roll my eyes at his bossiness, but his last line makes me smile. I head for the bathroom, wondering if Elliot made it back last night and trying hard to rein in my nerves.
I can drive the Audi in high-heels! At 12:55 p.m. precisely, I pull into the garage at Escala and park in bay five. How many bays does he own? The Audi SUV is there, the R8, and two smaller Audi SUVs… hmm. I check my seldom-worn mascara in the light up vanity mirror on my sunshield. Didn’t have one of these in the Beetle.
Go girl! My inner goddess has her pom poms in hand – she’s in cheerleading mode. In the infinity mirrors of the elevator, I check out my plum dress, well – Kate’s plum dress. The last time I wore this, he wanted to peel it off me. My body clenches at the thought. Oh my, the feeling is just exquisite, and I catch my breath. I’m wearing the underwear that Taylor bought for me. I flush at the thought of his buzz-cut roaming the aisles of Agent
Provocateur or wherever he bought it. The doors open, and I’m facing the foyer of apartment number one.
Taylor stands at the double doors as I step out of the elevator.
“Good afternoon, Miss Steele,” he says.
“Oh please call me, Ana.”
“Ana,” he smiles.
“Mr. Grey is expecting you.”
I bet he is.
Christian is seated on his living room couch reading the Sunday papers. He glances up as Taylor directs me into the living area. The room is exactly as I remember it – it’s been a whole week since I’ve been here – but it feels so much longer. Christian looks cool and calm – actually, he looks heavenly. He’s in a loose white linen shirt and jeans, no shoes or socks. His hair is tousled and unkempt, and his gray eyes twinkle wickedly at me. He is jaw-droppingly handsome. He rises and strolls towards me, an amused appraising smile on his beautiful sculptured lips.
I stand immobilized at the entrance of the room, paralyzed by his beauty and the sweet anticipation of what’s to come. The familiar charge between us is there, sparking slowly in my belly, drawing me to him.
“Hmm… that dress,” he murmurs approvingly as he gazes down at me. “Welcome back, Miss Steele,” he whispers, and clasping my chin, he leans down and proffers a gentle light kiss on my lips. The touch of his lips to mine reverberates throughout my body. My breath hitches.
“Hi,” I whisper as I flush.
“You’re on time. I like punctual. Come.” He takes my hand and leads me to the couch. “I wanted to show you something,” he says as we sit. He hands me the Seattle Times. On page eight, there’s a photograph of the two of us together at the graduation ceremony. Holy crap. I’m in the paper. I check the caption.
Christian Grey and friend at the graduation ceremony at WSU Vancouver.
I laugh.
“So I’m your ‘friend’ now.”
“So it would appear. And it’s in the newspaper, so it must be true.” He smirks.
Sitting beside me, his whole body is turned toward me, one of his legs tucked under the other. Reaching over, he tucks my hair behind my ear with his long index finger. My body comes alive at his touch, waiting and needful.
“So, Anastasia, you have a much better idea of what I’m about since you were last here.”
“Yes.” Where’s he going with this?
“And yet you’ve returned.”
I nod shyly, and his gray eyes blaze. He shakes his head slightly as if he’s struggling with the idea.
“Have you eaten?” he asks out of the blue.
“Are you hungry?” He’s really trying not to look annoyed.
“Not for food,” I whisper, and his nostrils flare slightly in reaction.
He leans forward and whispers in my ear.
“You are as eager as ever, Miss Steele, and just to let you into a little secret, so am I. But Dr. Greene is due here shortly.” He sits up. “I wish you’d eat,” he scolds me mildly. My heated blood cools. Holy cow – the doctor. I’d forgotten.
“What can you tell me about Dr. Greene?” I ask to distract us both.
“She’s the best Ob/Gyn in Seattle. What more can I say?” He shrugs.
“I thought I was seeing your doctor, and don’t tell me you’re really a woman, because I won’t believe you.”
He gives me a don’t-be-ridiculous look.
“I think it’s more appropriate that you see a specialist. Don’t you?” he says mildly.
I nod. Holy Moses, if she’s the best Ob/Gyn, he’s scheduled her to see me on a Sunday – at lunchtime! I cannot begin to imagine how much that costs. Christian frowns suddenly as if recalling something unpleasant.
“Anastasia, my mother would like you to come to dinner this evening. I believe Elliot is asking Kate too. I don’t know how you feel about that. It will be odd for me to introduce you to my family.”
Odd? Why?
“Are you ashamed of me?” I can’t keep the wounded hurt out of my voice.
“Of course not.” He rolls his eyes at me.
“Why is it odd?”
“Because I’ve never done it before.”
“Why are you allowed to roll your eyes, and I’m not?”
He blinks at me.
“I wasn’t aware that I was.”
“Neither am I usually,” I snap at him.
Christian glares at me, speechless. Taylor appears at the doorway.
“Dr. Greene is here, Sir.”
“Show her up to Miss Steele’s room.”
Miss Steele’s room!
“Ready for some contraception?” he asks as he stands and holds out his hand to me.
“You’re not going to come as well are you?” I gasp, shocked.
He laughs.
“I’d pay very good money to watch, believe me, Anastasia, but I don’t think the good doctor would approve.”
I take his hand, and he pulls me up into his arms and kisses me deeply. I clutch on to his arms, taken by surprise. His hand is in my hair holding my head, and he pulls me against him, his forehead against mine.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” he whispers. “I can’t wait to get you naked.”