From: Christian Grey
Date: May 30 2011 22:31
To: Anastasia Steele
How can you be emailing? Are you risking the life of everyone on board, including your- self, by using your BlackBerry? I think that contravenes one of the rules.
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 air- borne, 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
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 park- ing 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, 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 in- stance…,” 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 soul- ful 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 si- esta. 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
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 eradi- cate 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 inexperi- enced, 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 be- fore. Your email for example: I have read and re-read it countless times trying to under- stand 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 ar- rangement 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.
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… 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 exclu- sive, 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
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.