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?
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 ceil- ing. 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 pil- low 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 hostil-
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 respon- sible, 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 talk- ing 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.
“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?”
I pick at an imaginary spot on my mother’s blue and cream quilt.
“You beguile me, Christian. Completely overwhelm me. I feel like Icarus flying too close to the Sun,” I whisper.
“Well, I think you’ve got that the wrong way around,” he whispers. “What?”
“Oh, Anastasia, you’ve bewitched me. Isn’t it obvious?”
No, not to me. Bewitched… my inner goddess is staring open-mouthed. Even she doesn’t believe this.
“You’ve still not answered my question. Write me an email, please. But right now, I’d really like to sleep. Can I stay?”
“Do you want to stay?” I can’t hide the hope in my voice. “You wanted me here.”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“I’ll write you an email,” he mutters petulantly.
Standing, he empties his jeans pockets of BlackBerry, keys, wallet, and money. Holy cow, men carry a lot of crap in their pockets. He strips off his watch, his shoes, socks, and jeans and places his jacket over my chair. He walks round to the other side of the bed and slides in.
“Lie down,” he orders.
I slip slowly under the covers, wincing slightly, staring at him. Jeez… he’s staying. I think I’m numb with elated shock. He leans up on one elbow staring down at me.
“If you are going to cry. Cry in front of me. I need to know.” “Do you want me to cry?”
“Not particularly. I just want to know how you’re feeling. I don’t want you slipping through my fingers. Switch the light off. It’s late, and we both have to work tomorrow.”
So here… and still so bossy, but I can’t complain, he’s in my bed. I don’t quite un- derstand why… maybe I should weep more often in front of him. I switch off the bedside light.
“Lie on your side, facing away from me,” he murmurs in the darkness.
I roll my eyes in the full knowledge that he cannot see me, but I do as I’m told. Gin- gerly, he moves over and puts his arms around me and pulls me to his chest… oh my.
“Sleep, baby,” he whispers, and I feel his nose in my hair as he inhales deeply.
Holy cow. Christian Grey is sleeping with me, and in the comfort and solace of his arms, I drift into a peaceful sleep.
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, sprin- kling 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 vic- tory 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, sugges- tively.
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?”
“Yes.” 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 exqui- site.
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 ap- ply – 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 uncomfort- able, 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. Ana