Fifty shades of grey, p.28

  Fifty Shades of Grey, p.28

   part  #1 of  Fifty Shades Series

Fifty Shades of Grey

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  Christian squirts baby oil into his hand and then rubs my behind with careful tenderness

  – from makeup remover to smoothing balm for a spanked ass, who would have thought it was such a versatile liquid.

  “I like my hands on you,” he murmurs, and I have to agree, me too.

  “There,” he says when he’s finished, and he pulls my pants up again.

  I glance over at my clock. It’s ten-thirty.

  “I’m leaving now.”

  “I’ll see you out.” I still can’t look at him.

  Taking my hand, he leads me to the front door. Fortunately, Kate is still not home. She must still be having dinner with her folks and Ethan. I’m really glad she’s not been around to hear my chastisement.

  “Don’t you have to call Taylor?” I ask, avoiding eye contact.

  “Taylor’s been here since nine. Look at me,” he breathes.

  I struggle to meet his eyes, but when I do, he’s gazing down at me with wonder.

  “You didn’t cry,” he murmurs, then grabs me suddenly and kisses me fervently. “Sunday,” he whispers against my lips, and it’s both a promise and a threat.

  I watch him walk down the path and climb into the big black Audi. He doesn’t look back. I close the door and stand helpless in the living room of an apartment that I shall only spend another two nights in. A place I have lived happily for almost four years… yet today, for the first time ever, I feel lonely and uncomfortable here, unhappy with my own company. Have I strayed so far from who I am? I know that lurking, not very far under my rather numb exterior, is a well of tears. What am I doing? The irony is I can’t even sit down and enjoy a good cry. I’ll have to stand. I know it’s late, but I decide to call my mom.

  “Honey, how are you? How was graduation?” she enthuses down the phone. Her voice is a soothing balm.

  “Sorry it’s so late,” I whisper.

  She pauses.

  “Ana? What’s wrong?” She’s all seriousness now.

  “Nothing, Mom, I just wanted to hear your voice.”

  She’s silent for a moment.

  “Ana, what is it? Please tell me.” Her voice is soft and comforting, and I know that she cares. Uninvited, my tears begin to flow. I have cried so often in the last few days.

  “Please, Ana,” she says, and her anguish reflects mine.

  “Oh, Mom, it’s a man.”

  “What’s he done to you?” Her alarm is palpable.

  “It’s not like that.” Although it is… Oh crap. I don’t want to worry her. I just want someone else to be strong for me at the moment.

  “Ana, please, you’re worrying me.”

  I take a big breath.

  “I’ve kind of fallen for this guy, and he’s so different from me, and I don’t know if we should be together.”

  “Oh, darling. I wish I could be with you. I am so sorry I missed your graduation.

  You’ve fallen for someone, finally. Oh, honey, men, they are so tricky. They’re a different species, honey. How long have you known him?”

  Christian is definitely a different species… different planet.

  “Oh, nearly three weeks or so.”

  “Ana, darling, that’s no time at all. How can you possibly know someone in that kind of time frame? Just take it easy with him and keep him at arm’s length until you decide whether he’s worthy of you.”

  Wow… it’s unnerving when my mother is so insightful, but she’s just too late on this.

  Is he worthy of me? That’s an interesting concept. I always wonder whether I am worthy of him.

  “Honey, you sound so unhappy. Come home – visit with us. I miss you, darling. Bob would love to see you too. You can get some distance and maybe some perspective. You need a break. You’ve been working so hard.”

  Oh boy, is this tempting. Run away to Georgia. Grab some sunshine, some cocktails.

  My mother’s good humor… her loving arms.

  “I have two job interviews in Seattle on Monday.”

  “Oh, that’s wonderful news.”

  The door opens and Kate appears, grinning at me. Her face falls when she sees I’ve been crying.

  “Mom, I have to go. I’ll think about a visit. Thank you.”

  “Honey, please, don’t let a man get under your skin. You’re far too young. Go and enjoy yourself.”

  “Yes, Mom, love you.”

  “Oh, Ana, I love you too, so much. Stay safe, honey.” I hang up and face Kate who glares at me.

  “Has that obscenely rich fucker upset you again?”

  “No… sort of… err… yes.”

  “Just tell him to take a hike, Ana. You’ve been so up and down since you met him.

  I’ve never seen you like this.”

  The world of Katherine Kavanagh is very clear, very black and white. Not the intangible, mysterious, vague hues of gray that color my world . Welcome to my world.

  “Sit, let’s talk. Let’s have some wine. Oh, you’ve had champagne.” She spies the bottle. “Some good stuff too.”

  I smile ineffectually, looking apprehensively at the couch. I approach it with caution.

  Hmm… sitting.

  “Are you okay?”

  “I fell over and landed on my behind.”

  She doesn’t think to question my explanation, because I am one of the most un-coordinated people in Washington State. I never thought I’d see that as a blessing. I sit down gingerly, pleasantly surprised that I’m okay, and turn my attention to Kate, but my mind glazes over and I’m pulled back to the Heathman – “Well, if you were mine you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday.” He said it then, and all

  I could concentrate on at the time was being his. All the warning signs were there, I was just too clueless and too enamored to notice.

  Kate comes back into the living area with a bottle of red wine and washed teacups.

  “Here we go.” She hands me a cup of wine. It won’t taste as good as the Bolly.

  “Ana, if he’s a jerk with commitment issues, dump him. Though I don’t really understand his commitment issues. He couldn’t take his eyes off you in the marquee, watched you like a hawk. I’d say he was completely smitten, but maybe he has a funny way of showing it.”

  Smitten? Christian? Funny way of showing it? I’ll say.

  “Kate, it’s complicated. How was your evening?” I ask.

  I can’t talk this through with Kate without revealing too much, but one question on her day and Kate is off. It’s so reassuring to sit and listen to her normal chatter. The hot news is that Ethan may be coming to live with us after their holiday. That will be fun – Ethan is a hoot. I frown. I don’t think Christian will approve. Well… tough. He’ll just have to suck it up. I have a couple of teacups of wine and decide to call it a night. It’s been one very long day. Kate hugs me, and then grabs the phone to call Elliot.

  I check the mean machine after I brush my teeth. There’s an email from Christian.

  From: Christian Grey

  Subject: You

  Date: May 26 2011 23:14

  To: Anastasia Steele

  Dear Miss Steele

  You are quite simply exquisite. The most beautiful, intelligent, witty and brave woman I have ever met. Take some Advil – this is not a request. And don’t drive your Beetle again. I will know.

  Christian Grey

  CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

  Oh, not drive my car again! I type out my reply.

  From: Anastasia Steele

  Subject: Flattery

  Date: May 26 2011 23:20

  To: Christian Grey

  Dear Mr. Grey

  Flattery will get you nowhere, but since you’ve been everywhere the point is moot.

  I will need to drive my Beetle to a garage so I can sell it – so will not graciously accept any of your nonsense over that. Red wine is always more preferable to Advil.


  PS: Caning is a HARD limit for me.

hit send.

  From: Christian Grey

  Subject: Frustrating women who can’t take compliments Date: May 26 2011 23:26

  To: Anastasia Steele

  Dear Ms. Steele

  I am not flattering you. You should go to bed.

  I accept your addition to the hard limits.

  Don’t drink too much.

  Taylor will dispose of your car and get a good price for it too.

  Christian Grey

  CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

  From: Anastasia Steele

  Subject: Taylor – Is he the right man for the job?

  Date: May 26 2011 23:40

  To: Christian Grey

  Dear Sir

  I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right hand man drive my car – but not some woman you fuck occasionally. How can I be sure that Taylor is the man to get me the best deal for said car? I have, in the past, probably before I met you, been known to drive a hard bargain.


  From: Christian Grey

  Subject: Careful!

  Date: May 26 2011 23:44

  To: Anastasia Steele

  Dear Ms. Steele

  I am assuming it is the RED WINE talking, and that you’ve had a very long day.

  Though I am tempted to drive back over there to ensure that you don’t sit down for a week, rather than an evening.

  Taylor is ex-army and capable of driving anything from a motorcycle to a Sherman Tank.

  Your car does not present a hazard to him.

  Now please do not refer to yourself as ‘some woman I fuck occasionally’ because, quite frankly it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

  Christian Grey

  CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

  From: Anastasia Steele

  Subject: Careful yourself

  Date: May 26 2011 23:57

  To: Christian Grey

  Dear Mr. Grey

  I’m not sure I like you anyway, especially at the moment.

  Ms. Steele

  From: Christian Grey

  Subject: Careful yourself

  Date: May 27 2011 00:03

  To: Anastasia Steele

  Why don’t you like me?

  Christian Grey

  CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

  From: Anastasia Steele

  Subject: Careful yourself

  Date: May 27 2011 00:09

  To: Christian Grey

  Because you never stay with me.

  There, that’s given him something to think about. I shut the machine down with a flourish I don’t really feel and crawl into my bed. I switch off my sidelight and stare up at the ceiling. It’s been one long day, one emotional wrench after another. It was heartwarming to spend some time with Ray. He looked well, and weirdly he approved of Christian. Jeez, Kate and her gargantuan mouth. Hearing Christian speak about being hungry. What the hell is that all about? God, and the car. I haven’t even told Kate about the new car. What was Christian thinking?

  And then this evening, he actually hit me. I’ve never been hit in my life. What have I gotten myself into? Very slowly, my tears, halted by Kate’s arrival, begin to slide down the side of my face and into my ears. I have fallen for someone who’s so emotionally shut down, I will only get hurt – deep down I know this – someone who by his own admission is completely fucked up. Why is he so fucked up? It must be awful to be as affected as he is, and the thought that as a toddler he suffered some unbearable cruelty makes me cry harder. Perhaps if he was more normal he wouldn’t want you, my subconscious contributes snidely to my musings… and in my heart of hearts I know this is true. I turn into my pillow and the sluice gates open… and for the first time in years, I am sobbing uncontrollably into my pillow.

  I am momentarily distracted from my dark night of the soul by Kate shouting.

  “What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?”

  “Well you can’t!”

  “What the fuck have you done to her now?”

  “Since she’s met you she cries all the time.”

  “You can’t come in here!”

  Christian bursts into my bedroom and unceremoniously switches on the overhead light, making me squint.

  “Jesus, Ana,” he mutters. He flicks the switch off again and is at my side in a moment.

  “What are you doing here?” I gasp between sobs. Crap. I can’t stop crying.

  He switches on the sidelight making me squint again. Kate comes and stands in the doorway.

  “Do you want me to throw this asshole out?” she asks, radiating thermo-nuclear hostility. Christian raises his eyebrows at her, no doubt surprised by her flattering epithet and her feral antagonism. I shake my head, and she rolls her eyes at me. Oh… I wouldn’t do that near Mr. G.

  “Just holler if you need me,” she says more gently. “Grey – your cards are marked,”

  she hisses at him. He nods at her, and she turns and pulls the door to but doesn’t close it.

  Christian gazes down at me, his expression grave, his face ashen. He’s wearing his pinstriped jacket, and from his inside pocket, he pulls out a handkerchief and hands it to me. I think I still have his other one somewhere.

  “What’s going on?” he asks quietly.

  “Why are you here?” I ask, ignoring his question. My tears have miraculously ceased, but I’m left with dry heaves racking my body.

  “Part of my role is to look after your needs. You said you wanted me to stay, so here I am. And yet I find you like this.” He blinks at me, truly bewildered. “I’m sure I’m responsible, but I have no idea why. Is it because I hit you?”

  I pull myself up, wincing from my sore behind. I sit and face him.

  “Did you take some Advil?”

  I shake my head. He narrows his eyes, stands, and leaves the room. I hear him talking to Kate but not what they are saying. He’s back a few moments later with pills and a teacup of water.

  “Take these,” he orders gently as he sits on my bed beside me.

  I do as I’m told.

  “Talk to me,” he whispers. “You told me you were okay. I’d never have left you if I thought you were like this.”

  I stare down at my hands. What can I say that I haven’t said already? I want more. I want him to stay because he wants to stay with me, not because I’m a blubbering mess, and I don’t want him to beat me, is that so unreasonable?

  “I take it that when you said you were okay, you weren’t.”

  I flush.

  “I thought I was fine.”

  “Anastasia, you can’t tell me what you think I want to hear. That’s not very honest,”

  he admonishes me. “How can I trust anything you’ve said to me?”

  I peek up at him, and he’s frowning, a bleak look in his eye. He runs both hands through his hair.

  “How did you feel while I was hitting you and after?”

  “I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”

  “You weren’t meant to like it.”

  “Why do you like it?” I stare up at him.

  My question surprises him.

  “You really want to know?”

  “Oh, trust me, I’m fascinated.” And I can’t quite keep the sarcasm out of my voice.

  He narrows his eyes again.

  “Careful,” he warns.

  I blanch.

  “Are you going to hit me again?” I challenge.

  “No, not tonight.”

  Phew... my subconscious and I both breathe a silent sigh of relief.

  “So,” I prompt.

  “I like the control it brings me, Anastasia. I want you to behave in a particular way, and if you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn to behave the way I desire. I enjoy punishing you. I’ve wanted to spank you since you asked me if I was gay.”

  I flush at the memory . Jeez, I wanted to spank myself after that question. So Katherine Kavanagh is responsible for all this, and if she’d
gone to that interview and asked her gay question, she’d be sitting here with the sore ass. I don’t like that thought. How confusing is this?

  “So you don’t like the way I am.”

  He stares at me, bewildered again.

  “I think you’re lovely the way you are.”

  “So why are you trying to change me?”

  “I don’t want to change you. I’d like you to be courteous and to follow the set of rules I’ve given you and not defy me. Simple,” he says.

  “But you want to punish me?”

  “Yes I do.”

  “That’s what I don’t understand.”

  He sighs and runs his hands through his hair again.

  “It’s the way I’m made, Anastasia. I need to control you. I need you to behave in a certain way, and if you don’t – I love to watch your beautiful alabaster skin pink and warm up under my hands. It turns me on.”

  Holy shit. Now we’re getting somewhere.

  “So it’s not the pain you’re putting me through?”

  He swallows.

  “A bit, to see if you can take it, but that’s not the whole reason. It’s the fact that you are mine to do with as I see fit – ultimate control over someone else. And it turns me on.

  Big time, Anastasia. Look, I’m not explaining myself very well… I’ve never had to before.

  I’ve not really thought about this in any great depth. I’ve always been with like-minded people,” he shrugs apologetically. “And you still haven’t answered my question – how did you feel afterwards?”


  “You were sexually aroused by it, Anastasia,” he closes his eyes briefly, and when he re-opens them and gazes at me, they are smoldering smoky embers.

  His expression pulls at that dark part of me, buried in the depths of my belly – my libido, woken and tamed by him, but even now, insatiable.

  “Don’t look at me like that,” he murmurs.

  I frown. Jeez what have I done now?

  “I don’t have any condoms, Anastasia, and you know, you’re upset. Contrary to what your roommate believes, I’m not a priapic monster. So, you felt confused?”

  I squirm under his intense gaze.

  “You have no problem being honest with me in print. Your emails always tell me exactly how you feel. Why can’t you do that in conversation? Do I intimidate you that much?”

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