With the Rolling Stones’ “Shake Your Hips” blasting in my ears, I sprint down Fourth Avenue and turn right on Vine. It’s 6:45 in the morning, and it’s downhill all the way…to her apartment. I’m drawn; I just want to see where she lives.
It’s between control freak and stalker.
I chuckle to myself. I’m just running. It’s a free country.
The apartment block is a nondescript redbrick, with dark green painted window frames typical of the area. It’s in a good location near the intersection of Vine Street and Western. I imagine Ana curled up in her bed under her comforter and her cream-and-blue quilt.
I run several blocks and turn down into the market; the vendors are setting up for business. I dodge between the fruit and vegetable trucks and the refrigerated vans delivering the catch of the day. This is the heart of the city-vibrant, even this early on a gray, cool morning. The water on the Sound is a glassy leaden color, matching the sky. But it does nothing to dampen my spirits.
Today’s the day.
AFTER MY SHOWER I don jeans and a linen shirt, and from my chest of drawers I take out a hair tie. I slip it into my pocket and head into my study to e-mail Ana.
* * *
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 five-it’s one of mine.
Code for the elevator: 1880.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.
A moment or two later, there’s a response.
* * *
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.
An image of Ana tethered to her bed with my tie comes to mind. I shift in my chair. I hope she’s brought that bed to Seattle.
* * *
From: Christian Grey
Date: May 29 2011 08:11
To: Anastasia Steele
Don’t be late.
Lucky Charlie Tango.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.
She doesn’t respond, so I hunt through the refrigerator for some breakfast. Gail has left me some croissants and, for lunch, a Caesar salad with chicken, enough for two. I hope Ana will eat this; I don’t mind having it two days in a row.
Taylor appears while I’m eating my breakfast.
“Good morning, Mr. Grey. Here are the Sunday papers.”
“Thanks. Anastasia is coming over at one today, and a Dr. Greene at one thirty.”
“Very good, sir. Anything else on the agenda today?”
“Yes. Ana and I will be going to my parents’ for dinner this evening.”
Taylor cocks his head, looking momentarily surprised, but he remembers himself and leaves the room. I return to my croissant and apricot jam.
Yeah. I’m taking her to meet my parents. What’s the big deal?
I CAN’T SETTLE. I’M restless. It’s 12:15 p.m. Time is crawling today. I give up on work and, grabbing the Sunday papers, wander back into the living room, where I switch on some music and read.
To my surprise there’s a photograph of Ana and me on the local news page, taken at the graduation ceremony at WSU. She looks lovely, if a little startled.
I hear the double doors open, and there she is…Her hair is loose, a little wild and sexy, and she’s wearing that purple dress she wore to dinner at The Heathman. She looks gorgeous.
Bravo, Miss Steele.
“Hmm, that dress.” My voice is full of admiration as I saunter toward her. “Welcome back, Miss Steele,” I whisper, and, holding her chin, I give her a tender kiss on the lips.
“Hi,” she says, her cheeks a little rosy.
“You’re on time. I like punctual. Come.” Taking her hand, I lead her to the sofa. “I wanted to show you something.” We both sit, and I pass her The Seattle Times. The photograph makes her laugh. Not quite the reaction I was expecting.
“So I’m your ‘friend’ now,” she teases.
“So it would appear. And it’s in the newspaper, so it must be true.”
I’m calmer now that she’s here-probably because she’s here. She hasn’t run. I tuck her soft, silky hair behind her ear; my fingers are itching to braid it.
“So, Anastasia, you have a much better idea of what I’m about since you were last here.”
“Yes.” Her gaze is intense…knowing.
“And yet you’ve returned.”
She nods, giving me a coy smile.
I can’t believe my luck.
I knew you were a freak, Ana.
“Have you eaten?”
Not at all? Okay. We’ll have to fix this. I drag my hand through my hair, and in as even a tone as I can manage I ask, “Are you hungry?”
“Not for food,” she teases.
Whoa. She might as well be addressing my groin.
Leaning forward, I press my lips to her ear and catch her intoxicating scent. “You are as eager as ever, Miss Steele-and just to let you in on a little secret, so am I. But Dr. Greene is due here shortly.”
I lean against the sofa. “I wish you’d eat.” It’s a plea.
“What can you tell me about Dr. Greene?” She deftly changes the subject.
“She’s the best ob-gyn in Seattle. What more can I say?”
That’s what my doctor told my PA, anyway.
“I thought I was seeing your doctor? And don’t tell me you’re really a woman, because I won’t believe you.”
I suppress my snort. “I think it’s more appropriate that you see a specialist. Don’t you?”
She gives me a quizzical look, but she nods.
One more topic to tackle. “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.”
She takes a second to process the information, then tosses her hair over her shoulder in that way she does before a fight. But she looks hurt, not argumentative. “Are you ashamed of me?” She sounds choked.
Oh, for heaven’s sake. “Of course not.” Of all the ridiculous things to say! I glare at her, aggrieved. How could she think that about herself?
“Why is it odd?” she asks.
“Because I’ve never done it before.” I sound irritable.
“Why are you allowed to roll your eyes, and I’m not?”
“I wasn’t aware that I was.” She’s calling me out. Again.
“Neither am I, usually,” she snaps.
Shit. Are we arguing?
Taylor clears his throat. “Dr. Greene is here, sir,” he says.
“Show her up to Miss Steele’s room.”
Ana turns and looks at me and I hold out my hand to her.
“You’re not going to come as well, are you?” She’s horrified and amused at once.
I laugh, and my body stirs. “I’d pay very good money to watch, believe me, Anastasia, but I don’t think the good doctor would approve.” She places her hand in mine, and I pull her up into my arms and kiss her. Her mouth is soft and warm and inviting; my hands glide into her hair and I deepen the kiss. When I pull away, she looks dazed. I press my forehead to hers. “I’m so glad you’re here. I can’t wait to get you naked.” I can’t believe how much I missed you. “Come on. I want to meet Dr. Greene, too.”
“You don’t know her?”
I take Ana’s hand and we head upstairs, to what will be her bedroom.
Dr. Greene has one of those myopic stares; it’s penetrating and that makes me a tad uncomfortable. “Mr. Grey,” she says, shaking my outstretched hand with a firm, no-nonsense grip.
“Thank you for coming on such short notice.” I flash her my most benign smile.
“Thank you for making it worth my while, Mr. Grey. Miss Steele,” she says politely to Ana, and I know she’s sizing up our relationship. I’m sure that she thinks I should be twiddling a mustache like a silent-movie villain. She turns and gives me a pointed “leave now” kind of look.
“I’ll be downstairs,” I acquiesce. Though I would like to watch. I’m sure the good doctor’s reaction would be priceless if I made that request. I smirk at the thought and head downstairs to the living room.
Now that Ana’s no longer with me, I’m restless again. As a distraction I set the counter with two placemats. It’s the second time I’ve done this, and the first time was for Ana, too.
You’re going soft, Grey.
I select a Chablis to have with lunch-one of the few chardonnays I like-and when I’m done I take a seat on the sofa and browse through the sports section of the paper. Turning up the volume via the remote for my iPod, I hope the music will help me focus on stats from last night’s Mariners win against the Yankees, rather than what’s happening upstairs between Ana and Dr. Greene.
Eventually their footsteps echo in the corridor, and I look up as they enter. “Are you done?” I ask, and hit the remote for the iPod, to quiet the aria.
“Yes, Mr. Grey. Look after her; she’s a beautiful, bright young woman.”
What has Ana told her?
“I fully intend to,” I say, with a quick what-the-fuck glance at Ana.
She bats her lashes, clueless. Good. It’s nothing she’s said, then.
“I’ll send you my bill,” says Dr. Greene. “Good day, and good luck to you, Ana.” The edges of her eyes crinkle with a warm smile as we shake hands.
Taylor escorts her toward the elevator and wisely closes the double doors to the foyer.
“How was that?” I ask, a little bemused by Dr. Greene’s words.
“Fine, thank you,” Ana answers. “She said that I had to abstain from all sexual activity for the next four weeks.”
What the hell? I gape at her in shock.
Ana’s earnest expression dissolves into one of taunting triumph. “Gotcha!”
Well played, Miss Steele.
My eyes narrow and her grin vanishes.
“Gotcha!” I can’t help my smirk. Reaching around her waist, I pull her against me, my body hungering for her. “You are incorrigible, Miss Steele.” I weave my hands through her hair and kiss her hard, wondering if I should fuck her over the kitchen counter as a lesson.
All in good time, Grey.
“As much as I’d like to take you here and now, you need to eat and so do I. I don’t want you passing out on me later,” I whisper.
“Is that all you want me for-my body?” she asks.
“That and your smart mouth.” I kiss her once more, thinking of what’s to come…My kiss deepens and desire hardens my body. I want this woman. Before I fuck her on the floor, I release her, and we’re both breathless.
“What’s the music?” she says, her voice hoarse.
“Villa-Lobos, an aria from Bachianas Brasileiras. Good, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” she says, gazing at the breakfast bar. I take the chicken Caesar out of the fridge, place it on the table between the placemats, and ask her if she’s okay with salad.
“Yes, fine, thank you.” She smiles.
From the wine fridge I take out the Chablis, feeling her eyes on me. I didn’t know I could be so domestic. “What are you thinking?” I ask.
“I was just watching the way you move.”
“And?” I ask, momentarily surprised.
“You’re very graceful,” she says quietly, her cheeks pink.
“Why, thank you, Miss Steele.” I sit beside her, unsure how to respond to her sweet compliment. Nobody’s called me graceful before. “Chablis?”
“Help yourself to salad. Tell me-what method did you opt for?”
“Mini pill,” she says.
“And will you remember to take it regularly, at the right time, every day?”
A blush steals across her surprised face. “I’m sure you’ll remind me,” she says with a hint of sarcasm, which I choose to ignore.
You should have had the shot.
“I’ll put an alarm on my calendar. Eat.”
She takes a bite, then another…and another. She’s eating!
“So I can put chicken Caesar on the list for Mrs. Jones?” I ask.
“I thought I’d be doing the cooking.”
“Yes. You will.”
She finishes before I do. She must have been starving.
“Eager as ever, Miss Steele?”
“Yes,” she says, giving me a demure look from beneath her lashes.
Fuck. There it is.
As if under her spell, I get up and tug her into my arms.
“Do you want to do this?” I whisper, inwardly begging her to say yes.
“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.”
Her face turns to shock.
Oh, baby. “Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise, Anastasia. One of the reasons people like me to 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.”
I wrap my arms around her, holding her against my hardening erection.
“Did you reach any conclusions?” she whispers.
“No, and right now, I just want to tie you up and fuck you senseless. Are you ready for that?”
Her expression is darker, sensual, and full of carnal curiosity. “Yes,” she says, the word as soft as a sigh.
“Good. Come.” I lead her upstairs and into my playroom. My safe place. Where I can do what I wish with her. I close my eyes, briefly savoring the exhilaration.
Have I ever been this excited?
Pushing the door shut behind us, I release her hand and study her. Her lips are parted as she inhales; her breathing is quick and shallow. Her eyes are wide. Ready. Waiting.
“When you’re in here, you are completely mine. To do with as I see fit. Do you understand?”
Her tongue quickly licks her upper lip, and she nods.
“Take your shoes off.”
She swallows and proceeds to take off her high-heeled sandals. I pick them up and put them neatly by 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 pause, checking that she’s still with me. “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?” My tone is sharper.
“Do you mean that?” I want you unashamed, Ana.
“Good. Lift your arms up over your head.”
Slowly she raises her arms in the air. I grab the hem and gently pull the dress up her body, revealing it inch by inch, for my eyes only. When it’s off I stand back so I can have my fill of her.
Legs, thighs, belly, ass, tits, shoulders, face, mouth…she’s perfect. Folding her dress, I place it on the toy chest. Reaching up, I tug her chin. “You’re biting your lip. You know what that does to me,” I scold. “Turn around.”
She complies and turns to face the door. I unfasten her bra and pull the straps down her arms, skimming her skin with my fingertips as I do and feeling her tremble beneath my touch. I take off her bra and toss it on top of her dress. I stand close, not quite touching her, listening to her rapid breathing and sensing the warmth radiating off her skin. She’s excited and she’s not the only one. I gather her hair in both of my hands so it falls down her back. It’s oh-so-silky to touch. I wind it around one hand and tug, angling her head to one side and exposing her neck to my mouth.
I run my nose from her ear to her shoulder and back again, inhaling her heavenly scent.
Fuck, she smells good.
“You smell as divine as ever, Anastasia.” I place a kiss beneath her ear just above her pulse.
“Quiet. Don’t make a sound.”
From my jeans pocket I grab the hair tie, and taking her hair in my hands, I braid it, slowly, enjoying the pull and twist against her beautiful, flawless back. Deftly I fasten the end with the hair tie and give it a quick tug, forcing her to step back and press her body into mine. “I like your hair braided in here,” I whisper. “Turn around.”
She does so, immediately.
“When I tell you to come in here, this is how you will dress. Just in your panties. Do you understand?”
“Good girl.” She’s learning fast. Her arms are by her sides, her eyes trained on mine. Waiting.
“When I tell you to come in here, I expect you to kneel over there.” I point to the corner of the room beside the door. “Do it now.”
She blinks a couple of times, but before I have to tell her again, she turns and kneels, facing me and the room.
I give her permission to sit back on her heels and she obliges. “Place your hands and forearms flat on your thighs. Good. Now part your knees. Wider.” I want to see you, baby. “Wider.” See your sex. “Perfect. Look down at the floor.”
Don’t look at me or the room. You can sit there and let your thoughts run wild while you imagine what I’m going to do to you.
I walk over to her, and I’m pleased that she keeps her head bowed. Reaching down, I tug her braid, tilting her head so that our eyes meet. “Will you remember this position, Anastasia?”
“Good. Stay here, don’t move.”
Walking past her, I open the door and for a moment look back at her. Her head is bowed; her eyes stay fixed on the floor.
What a welcome sight. Good girl.
I want to run, but I contain my eagerness and walk purposefully downstairs to my bedroom.
Maintain some fucking dignity, Grey.
In my closet I strip off all my clothes and from a drawer pull out my favorite jeans. My DJs. Dom jeans.
I slip them on and fasten all the buttons except the top one. From the same drawer I retrieve the new riding crop and a gray waffle robe. As I leave I grab a few condoms and stuff them into my pocket.
When I get back she’s in the same position: her head bowed, her braid hanging down her back, her hands on her knees. I close the door and hang the robe on its hook. I walk past her. “Good girl, Anastasia. You look lovely like that. Well done. Stand up.”
She stands, keeping her head down.
“You may look at me.”
Eager blue eyes peek up.
“I’m going to chain you now, Anastasia. Give me your right hand.” I hold out mine and she places her hand in it. Without taking my eyes off hers I turn her hand palm up, and from behind my back produce the riding crop. I quickly flick the end across her palm. She startles and cups her hand, blinking at me in surprise.
“How does that feel?” I ask.
Her breathing accelerates, and she glances at me before looking back at her palm.
“Okay.” Her brows knit together.
“Don’t frown,” I warn. “Did that hurt?”
“This is not going to hurt. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” Her voice is a little shaky.
“I mean it,” I stress, and I show her the crop. Brown plaited leather. See? I listen. Her eyes meet mine, astonished. My lips twitch in amusement.
“We aim to please, Miss Steele. Come.”
I lead her to the middle of the room, beneath the restraining system. “This grid is designed so the shackles move across the grid.” She stares up at the intricate system, then back at me.
“We’re going to start here, but I want to fuck you standing up. So we’ll end up by the wall over there.” I point to the Saint Andrew’s cross. “Put your hands above your head.”
She does, immediately. Taking the leather cuffs that hang on the grid, I fasten one to each of her wrists in turn. I’m methodical, but she’s distracting. Being this close to her, sensing her excitement, her anxiety, touching her. I find it hard to concentrate. Once she’s cuffed I step back and take a deep breath, relieved.
Finally I’ve got you where I want you, Ana Steele.
Slowly I walk around her, admiring the view. Could she look hotter? “You look mighty fine trussed up like this, Miss Steele. And your smart mouth quiet for now. I like that.” I stop, facing her, curl my fingers into her panties, and oh so slowly drag them down her long legs until I’m kneeling at her feet.
Worshipping her. She’s glorious.
With my eyes locked on hers, I take her panties, crush them to my nose, and inhale deeply. Her mouth pops open and her eyes widen in amused shock.
Yes. I smirk. Perfect reaction.
I slip the panties into the back pocket of my jeans and stand, considering my next move. Holding out the crop, I run it over her belly and gently circle her navel with the keeper…the leather tongue. She sucks in her breath and tremors at the touch.
This will be good, Ana. Trust me.
Slowly I begin to circle her, drawing the crop across her skin, across her belly, her flank, her back. On my second circuit I flick the tongue at the base of her behind so it makes sharp contact with her vulva.
“Ah!” she cries, and she tugs against the shackles.
“Quiet,” I warn, and prowl around her once more. I flick the crop against her in the same sweet spot and she whines on contact, her eyes closed as she absorbs the sensation. With another twitch of my wrist, the crop snaps against her nipple. She throws her head back and moans. I aim again, and the crop licks her other nipple, and I watch it harden and lengthen beneath the bite of the leather keeper.
“Does that feel good?”
“Yes,” she rasps, eyes closed, head back.
I smack her across her behind, harder this time.
“Yes, Sir,” she cries.
Slowly and with care, I lavish strokes, licks, and flicks over her stomach and her belly, down her body, toward my goal. With one flick, the leather tongue bites her clitoris and she shouts out in a gargled cry, “Oh, please!”
“Quiet,” I command, and reprimand her with a harder flick across her backside.
I skim the leather tongue down through her pubic hair, against her vulva to her vagina. The brown leather is glistening with her arousal when I pull it back. “See how wet you are for this, Anastasia. Open your eyes and your mouth.”
She’s breathing hard, but she parts her lips and stares at me, her eyes dazed and lost in the carnality of the moment. And I slip the keeper into her mouth. “See how you taste. Suck. Suck hard, baby.”
Her lips close around the tip and it’s like they’re around my dick.
She’s so fucking hot and I can’t resist her.
Easing the crop from her mouth, I wrap my arms around her. She opens her mouth for me as I kiss her, my tongue exploring her, reveling in the taste of her lust.
“Oh, baby, you taste mighty fine,” I whisper. “Shall I make you come?”
“Please,” she pleads.
One flick of my wrist and the crop smacks her behind. “Please, what?”
“Please, Sir,” she whimpers.
Good girl. I step back. “With this?” I ask, holding up the crop so she can see it.
“Yes, Sir,” she says, surprising me.
“Are you sure?” I can barely believe my luck.
“Yes, please, Sir.”
Oh, Ana. You fucking goddess.
“Close your eyes.”
She does as she’s told. And with infinite care and not a little gratitude, I rain quick, stinging licks over her belly once more. Soon she’s panting again, her arousal heightened. Moving south, I gently flick the leather tongue over her clitoris. Again. And again. And again.
She pulls at her restraints, moaning and moaning. Then she’s quiet and I know she’s close. Suddenly she throws her head back and mouth open and she screams her orgasm as it shudders through her entire body. Instantly I drop the crop and grab her, supporting her as her body dissolves. She sags against me.
Oh. We’re not done, Ana.
With my hands under her thighs, I lift her trembling body and carry her, still shackled to the grid, toward the Saint Andrew’s cross. There I release her, holding her upright, pinned between the cross and my shoulders. I tug my jeans, undoing all the buttons, and freeing my cock. Yanking a condom from my pocket, I rip the foil packet with my teeth and with one hand roll it over my erection.
Gently I pick her up again and whisper, “Lift your legs, baby, wrap them around me.” Supporting her back against the wood, I help her wrap her legs around my hips, her elbows resting on my shoulders.
You are mine, baby.
With one thrust I’m inside her.
Fuck. She’s exquisite.
I take a moment to savor her. Then I start to move, relishing each thrust. Feeling her, on and on, my own breathing labored as I gasp for air and lose myself in this beautiful woman. My mouth is open at her neck, tasting her. Her scent fills my nostrils, fills me. Ana. Ana. Ana. I don’t want to stop.
Suddenly she tenses, and her body convulses around me.
Yes. Again. And I let go. Filling her. Holding her. Revering her.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
She’s so beautiful. And sweet hell, was that mind-blowing.
I pull out of her, and as she collapses against me I quickly unbuckle her wrists from the grid and support her as we both sink to the floor. I cradle her between my legs, wrapping my arms around her, and she sags against me, her eyes closed, breathing hard.
“Well done, baby. Did that hurt?”
“No.” Her voice is barely audible.
“Did you expect it to?” I ask, and I push stray strands of her hair off her face so I can see her better.
“You see? Most of your fear is in your head, Anastasia.” I caress her face. “Would you do it again?” I ask.
She doesn’t answer immediately, and I think she’s fallen asleep.
“Yes,” she whispers a moment later.
Thank you, sweet Lord.
I wrap her in my arms. “Good. So would I.” Again and again. Tenderly I kiss the top of her head and inhale. She smells of Ana and sweat and sex. “And I haven’t finished with you yet,” I assert. I’m so proud of her. She did it. She did everything I wanted.
She’s everything I want.
And suddenly I’m overwhelmed by an unfamiliar emotion that rocks through me, slicing through sinew and bone, leaving unease and fear in its wake.
She turns her head and starts to nuzzle my chest.
The darkness swells, startling and familiar, replacing my unease with a sense of dread. Every muscle in my body tenses. Ana blinks up at me with clear, unflinching eyes as I struggle to control my fear.
“Don’t,” I whisper. Please.
She leans back and peers at my chest.
Get control, Grey.
“Kneel by the door,” I order, uncurling around her.
Go. Don’t touch me.
Shakily she gets to her feet and stumbles over to the door, where she resumes her kneeling position.
I take a deep, centering breath.
What are you doing to me, Ana Steele?
I stand and stretch, calmer now.
As she kneels by the door, she looks every bit the ideal submissive. Her eyes are glazed; she’s tired. I’m sure she’s coming down from the adrenaline high. Her eyelids droop.
Oh, this will never do. You want her as a submissive, Grey. Show her what that means.
From my drawer of toys I fish out one of the cable ties I bought from Clayton’s, and a pair of scissors. “Boring you, am I, Miss Steele?” I ask, masking my sympathy. She startles awake and regards me guiltily. “Stand up,” I order.
Slowly she gets to her feet.
“You’re shattered, aren’t you?”
She nods with a bashful smile.
Oh, baby, you’ve done so well.
“Stamina, Miss Steele. I haven’t had my fill of you yet. Hold out your hands in front, as if you’re praying.”
A crease mars her forehead for a moment, but she presses her palms together and holds up her hands. I fasten the cable tie around her wrists. Her eyes flash to mine with recognition.
“Look familiar?” I give her a smile and run my finger around the plastic, checking that there’s enough room and it’s not too tight. “I have scissors here.” I bring them into her view. “I can cut you out of this in a moment.” She looks reassured. “Come.” Taking her clasped hands, I lead her to the far corner of the four-poster bed. “I want more-much, much more,” I whisper in her ear as she stares down at the bed. “But I’ll make this quick. You’re tired. Hold on to the post.”
Halting, she grasps the wooden pillar.
“Lower,” I order. She moves her hands down to the base until she’s bending over. “Good. Don’t let go. If you do, I’ll spank you. Understand?”
“Yes, Sir,” she says.
“Good.” I grab her hips and lift her toward me so she’s properly positioned, her beautiful behind in the air and at my disposal. “Don’t let go, Anastasia,” I warn her. “I’m going to fuck you hard from behind. Hold the post to support your weight. Understand?”
I smack her hard across her backside.
“Yes, Sir,” she says immediately.
“Part your legs.” I push my right foot against hers, widening her stance. “That’s better. After this, I’ll let you sleep.”
Her back is a perfect curve, each vertebra outlined from her nape to her fine, fine ass. I trace the line with my fingers. “You have such beautiful skin, Anastasia,” I say to myself. Bending over her, I follow the path my fingers have taken with tender kisses down her spine. As I do, I palm her breasts, trapping her nipples between my fingers, and tug. She writhes beneath me, and I plant a soft kiss at her waist, then suck and gently nip her skin while working her nipples.
She whimpers. I stop and stand back to admire the view, growing harder just looking at her. Reaching for a second condom from my pocket, I quickly kick my jeans off and open the foil packet. Using both hands, I wrap it around my cock.
I’d like to claim her ass. Now. But it’s too soon for that.
“You have such a captivating, sexy ass. What I’d like to do to it.” I stroke my hands over each cheek, fondling her, then slide two fingers inside her, stretching her.
She whimpers again.
“So wet. You never disappoint, Miss Steele. Hold tight. This is going to be quick, baby.”
Clutching her hips, I position myself at the entrance of her vagina, then reach up, grab her braid, wind it around my wrist, and hold it tightly. With one hand on my cock and the other around her hair, I slide into her.
She. Is. So. Fucking. Sweet.
Slowly I slide out of her, then grip her hip with my free hand and tighten my hold on her hair.
I slam into her, forcing her forward with a cry.
“Hold on, Anastasia!” I remind her. If she doesn’t she might get hurt.
Breathless, she pushes back against me, bracing her legs.
Then I start pounding into her, eliciting small, strangled cries from her as she clings to the post. But she doesn’t back down. She pushes back.
And then I feel it. Slowly. Her insides curling around me. Losing control, I slam into her, and still. “Come on, Ana, give it to me,” I growl, as I come, hard, her release prolonging mine as I hold her up.
Gathering her in my arms, I lower us to the floor with Ana on top of me, both of us facing the ceiling. She’s utterly relaxed, exhausted no doubt; her weight a welcome comfort. I stare up at the karabiners, wondering if she’ll ever let me suspend her.
And I don’t care.
Our first time together in here, and she’s been a dream. I kiss her ear. “Hold up your hands.” My voice is husky. Slowly, she raises them as if they’re weighted with concrete, and I slide the scissors beneath the cable tie.
“I declare this Ana open.” I murmur, and snip, freeing her. She giggles, her body juddering against mine. It’s a strange and not unwelcome feeling that makes me grin.
“That is such a lovely sound,” I whisper as she rubs her wrists. I sit up so that she’s in my lap.
I love making her laugh. She doesn’t laugh enough.
“That’s my fault,” I admit to myself as I rub some life back into her shoulders and arms. She turns her face to me with a weary, searching look. “That you don’t giggle more often,” I clarify.
“I’m not a great giggler,” she says, and yawns.
“Oh, but when it happens, ’tis a wonder and joy to behold.”
“Very flowery, Mr. Grey,” she says, teasing me.
I smile. “I’d say you’re thoroughly fucked and in need of sleep.”
“That wasn’t flowery at all,” she scoffs, scolding me.
Lifting her off my lap so I can stand up, I reach for my jeans and slip them on. “Don’t want to frighten Taylor, or Mrs. Jones, for that matter.”
It wouldn’t be the first time.
Ana sits in a sleepy daze on the floor. I clasp her upper arms, help her to her feet, and take her to the door. From the hook on the back of the door I grab the gray robe and dress her. She’s no help whatsoever; she really is exhausted.
“Bed,” I announce, kissing her quickly.
An alarmed expression crosses her drowsy face.
“For sleep,” I reassure her. And bending down, I gather her in my arms, cradle her against my chest, and carry her to the sub’s room. There I pull back the comforter and lay her down, and in a moment of weakness climb into the bed beside her. Covering us both with the duvet, I embrace her.
I’ll just hold her until she’s asleep.
“Sleep now, gorgeous girl.” I kiss her hair feeling utterly sated…and grateful. We did it. This sweet, innocent woman let me loose on her. And I think she enjoyed it. I know I did…more than ever before.
Mommy sits looking at me in the mirror with the big crack.
I brush her hair. It’s soft and smells of Mommy and flowers.
She takes the brush and winds her hair round and round.
So it’s like a bumpy snake down her back.
There, she says.
And she turns around and smiles at me.
Today, she’s happy.
I like when Mommy is happy.
I like it when she smiles at me.
She looks pretty when she smiles.
Let’s bake a pie, Maggot.
I like when Mommy bakes.
I wake suddenly with a sweet scent invading my mind. It’s Ana. She’s fast asleep beside me. I lie back and stare at the ceiling.
When have I ever slept in this room?
The thought is unnerving, and for some unfathomable reason it makes me uneasy.
What’s going on, Grey?
I sit up carefully, not wanting to disturb her, and stare down at her sleeping form. I know what it is-I’m unsettled because I’m in here with her. I climb out of bed, leaving her to sleep, and head back to the playroom. There I collect the used cable tie and condoms and stash them in my pocket, where I find Ana’s panties. With the crop, her clothes, and her shoes in hand, I leave and lock the door. Back in her room, I hang her dress on the closet door, place her shoes beneath the chair, and lay her bra on top. I take her panties from my pocket-and a wicked idea comes to mind.
I head for my bathroom. I need a shower before we head to dinner with my family. I’ll let Ana sleep awhile longer.
The piping-hot water cascades over me, washing away all the anxiety and unease that I’d felt earlier. As first times go, that was not bad, for either of us. And I’d thought that a relationship with Ana was impossible, but now the future now seems full of possibility. I make a mental note to call Caroline Acton in the morning to dress my girl.
After a productive hour in my study, catching up on my reading for work, I decide that Ana has had enough sleep. It’s dusk outside, and we have to leave in forty-five minutes for dinner at my parents’. It’s been easier to concentrate on my work, knowing that she’s upstairs in her bedroom.
Well, I know she’s safe up there.
From the refrigerator I take a carton of cranberry juice and a bottle of sparkling water. I mix them in a glass and head upstairs.
She’s still fast asleep, curled up where I left her. I don’t think she’s moved at all. Her lips are parted as she breathes softly. Her hair is tousled, tendrils escaping from her braid. I sit on the edge of the bed beside her, lean down, and kiss her temple. She mumbles a protest in her sleep.
“Anastasia, wake up.” My voice is gentle as I coax her awake.
“No,” she grumbles, hugging her pillow.
“We have to leave in half an hour for dinner at my parents’.”
Her eyes flicker open and focus on me.
“Come on, sleepyhead. Get up.” I kiss her temple again. “I’ve brought you a drink. I’ll be downstairs. Don’t go back to sleep, or you’ll be in trouble,” I warn as she stretches her arms. I kiss her once more and with a glance at the chair, where she won’t find her panties, I saunter back downstairs, unable to suppress my grin.
While I’m waiting for Miss Steele I press a button on the iPod remote and the music springs to life on random shuffle. Restless, I wander over to the balcony doors and stare out at the early evening sky, listening to Talking Heads’ “And She Was.”
Taylor enters. “Mr. Grey. Shall I bring the car around?”
“Give us five minutes.”
“Yes, sir,” he says, and disappears toward the service elevator.
Ana appears a few minutes later at the entrance to the living room. She looks luminous, stunning even…and amused. What’s she going to say about her missing panties?
“Hi,” she says with a cryptic smile.
“Hi. How are you feeling?”
Her smile broadens. “Good, thanks. You?” She feigns nonchalance.
“I feel mighty fine, Miss Steele.” The suspense is tantalizing and I hope my anticipation is not written all over my face.
“Frank? I never figured you for a Sinatra fan,” she says, cocking her head and giving me a curious look, as the rich tones of “Witchcraft” fill the room.
“Eclectic taste, Miss Steele.” I step toward her until I’m standing right in front of her. Will she crack? I’m searching for an answer in her glittering blue eyes.
Ask me for your panties, baby.
I caress her cheek with my fingertips. She leans her face into my touch-and I’m completely seduced-by her sweet gesture, by her teasing expression, and by the music. I want her in my arms.
“Dance with me,” I whisper, as I remove the remote from my pocket and turn up the volume until Frank’s crooning surrounds us. She gives me her hand. I circle her waist and pull her beautiful body against mine, and we start a slow, simple fox-trot. She grasps my shoulder, but I’m prepared for her touch, and together we whirl across the floor, her radiant face lighting up the room…and me. She falls into step with my lead, and when the song comes to an end, she’s giddy and breathless.
And so am I.
“There’s no nicer witch than you.” I plant a chaste kiss on her lips. “Well, that’s brought some color to your cheeks. Thank you for the dance. Shall we go and meet my parents?”
“You’re welcome, and yes, I can’t wait to meet them,” she replies, looking flushed and lovely.
“Do you have everything you need?”
“Oh yes,” she says with easy confidence.
“Are you sure?”
She nods, her lips carved in a smirk.
God, she has guts.
I grin. “Okay.” I can’t hide my delight. “If that’s the way you want to play it, Miss Steele.” I grab my jacket and we head to the elevator.
She never fails to surprise, impress, and disarm me. Now I will have to sit through dinner with my parents, knowing my girl is not wearing any underwear. In fact, I’m traveling down in this elevator right now, knowing she’s naked beneath her skirt.
She’s turned the tables on you, Grey.
SHE’S QUIET AS TAYLOR drives us north on I-5. I catch a glimpse of Union Lake; the moon disappears behind a cloud, and the water darkens, like my mood. Why am I taking her to see my parents? If they meet her, they’ll have certain expectations. And so will Ana. And I’m not sure if the relationship I want with Ana will live up to those expectations. And to make matters worse, I put all this in motion when I insisted she meet Grace. I’m the only one to blame. Me, and the fact that Elliot is fucking her roommate.
Who am I kidding? If I didn’t want her to meet my folks, she wouldn’t be here. I just wish I wasn’t so anxious about it.
Yeah. That’s the problem.
“Where did you learn to dance?” she asks, interrupting my chain of thoughts.
Oh, Ana. She’s not going to want me to go there.
“Christian, hold me. There. Properly. Right. One step. Two. Good. Keep in time to the music. Sinatra is perfect for the fox-trot.” Elena is in her element.
“Do you really want to know?” I answer.
“Yes,” she replies, but her tone says otherwise.
You asked. I sigh in the darkness beside her. “Mrs. Robinson was fond of dancing.”
“She must have been a good teacher.” Her whisper is tinged with regret and reluctant admiration.
“That’s right. Again. One. Two. Three. Four. Baby, you’ve got this.”
Elena and I glide across her basement.
“Again.” She laughs, her head thrown back, and she looks like a woman half her age.
Ana nods and studies the landscape, no doubt concocting some theory about Elena. Or maybe she’s thinking about meeting my parents. I wish I knew. Perhaps she’s nervous. Like me. I’ve never taken a girl home.
When Ana starts fidgeting I sense something is worrying her. Is she concerned about what we did today?
“Don’t,” I say, my voice softer than I intend.
She turns to look at me, her expression unreadable in the dark. “Don’t what?”
“Overthink things, Anastasia.” Whatever you’re thinking about. I reach over, take her hand, and kiss her knuckles. “I had a wonderful afternoon. Thank you.”
I get a brief flash of white teeth and a timid smile.
“Why did you use a cable tie?” she asks.
Questions about this afternoon; this is good. “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.” My voice is dry as I try to inject a little humor back into our conversation. “Very effective at keeping you in your place.”
Her eyes dart toward Taylor in the front seat.
Sweetheart, don’t worry about Taylor. He knows exactly what’s going on, and he’s done this for four years.
“All part of my world, Anastasia.” I give her hand a reassuring squeeze before I release it. Ana returns to staring out of the window; we’re surrounded by water as we cross Lake Washington on the 520 bridge, my favorite part of this journey. She draws up her feet and, curled on the seat, coils her arms around her legs.
Something is up.
When she glances at me, I ask, “Penny for your thoughts?”
Shit. “That bad, huh?”
“I wish I knew what you were thinking,” she says.
I smirk, relieved to hear this, and glad she doesn’t know what’s really on my mind.
“Ditto, baby,” I reply.
TAYLOR PULLS UP OUTSIDE my parents’ front door. “Are you ready for this?” I ask. Ana nods and I squeeze her hand. “First for me, too,” I whisper. When Taylor’s out the door I give her a wicked, salacious grin. “Bet you wish you were wearing your underwear right now.”
Her breath hitches and she scowls, but I climb out of the car to greet my mother and father, who are waiting on the doorstep. Ana looks cool and calm as she walks around the car to us. “Anastasia, you’ve met my mother, Grace. This is my dad, Carrick.”
“Mr. Grey, what a pleasure to meet you.” She smiles and shakes his outstretched hand.
“The pleasure is all mine, Anastasia.”
“Please, call me Ana.”
“Ana, how lovely to see you again.” Grace hugs her. “Come in, my dear.” Taking Ana’s arm, she leads her inside and I follow in her pantyless wake.
“Is she here?” Mia screams from somewhere inside the house. Ana gives me a startled look.
“That would be Mia, my little sister.”
We both turn in the direction of the high heels clattering through the hall. And there she is. “Anastasia! I’ve heard so much about you!” Mia wraps her in a big hug. Though she’s taller than Ana, I remember they’re almost the same age.
Mia takes her hand and drags her into the vestibule as my parents and I follow. “He’s never brought a girl home before,” Mia tells Ana in a shrill voice.
“Mia, calm down,” Grace chides.
Yes, for fuck’s sake, Mia. Stop making such a scene.
Ana catches me rolling my eyes and shoots me a withering look.
Grace greets me with a kiss on both cheeks. “Hello, darling.” She’s glowing, happy to have all her children home. Carrick offers his hand. “Hello, son. Long time no see.” We shake hands and follow the women into the living room. “Dad, you saw me yesterday,” I mutter. “Dad jokes”-my father excels at them.
Kavanagh and Elliot are cuddling on one of the sofas. But Kavanagh gets up to hug Ana when we enter.
“Christian.” She gives me a polite nod.
And now Elliot has his big paws all over Ana.
Fuck, who knew my family was so touchy-feely all of a sudden? Put her down. I glare at Elliot and he grins-an I’m-just-showing-you-how-it’s-done expression plastered all over his face. I slip my arm around Ana’s waist and pull her to my side. All eyes are on us.
Hell. This feels like a freak show.
“Drinks?” Dad offers. “Prosecco?”
“Please,” Ana and I reply together.
Mia bounces on the spot and claps her hands. “You’re even saying the same things. I’ll get them.” She dashes out of the room.
What the hell is wrong with my family?
Ana frowns. She’s probably finding them weird, too.
“Dinner’s almost ready,” Grace says as she follows Mia out of the room.
“Sit,” I tell Ana, and I lead her over to one of the sofas. She does as she’s told and I sit at her side, careful not to touch her. I need to set an example for my overly demonstrative family.
Maybe they’ve always been this way?
My father diverts me. “We were just talking about vacations, Ana. Elliot has decided to follow Kate and her family to Barbados for a week.”
Dude! I stare at Elliot. What the hell happened to Mr. Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em? Kavanagh must be good in the sack. She certainly looks smug enough.
“Are you taking a break now that you’ve finished your degree?” Carrick asks Ana.
“I’m thinking about going to Georgia for a few days,” she answers.
“Georgia?” I exclaim, unable to hide my surprise.
“My mother lives there,” she says, her voice wavering, “and I haven’t seen her for a while.”
“When were you thinking of going?” I snap.
“Tomorrow, late evening.”
Tomorrow! What the fuck? And I’m only learning of this now?
Mia returns with pink prosecco for Ana and me.
“Your good health!” Dad raises his glass.
“For how long?” I persist, trying to keep my voice level.
“I don’t know yet. It will depend how my interviews go tomorrow.”
“Ana deserves a break,” Kavanagh interrupts, staring at me with ill-concealed antagonism. I want to tell her to mind her own fucking business, but for Ana’s sake I hold my tongue.
“You have interviews?” Dad asks Ana.
“Yes, for internships at two publishers, tomorrow.”
When was she going to tell me this? I’m here with her for two minutes and I’m finding out details of her life that I should know!
“I wish you the best of luck,” Carrick says to her with a kind smile.
“Dinner is ready,” Grace calls from across the hall.
I let the others exit the room but grab Ana’s elbow before she can follow.
“When were you going to tell me you were leaving?” My temper is rapidly unraveling.
“I’m not leaving. I’m going to see my mother. And I was only thinking about it.” Ana dismisses me, as if I’m a child.
“What about our arrangement?”
“We don’t have an arrangement yet.”
I lead us through the living room door and into the hallway. “This conversation is not over,” I warn as we enter the dining room.
Mom has gone all out-best china, best crystal-for Ana’s and Kavanagh’s benefit. I hold out a chair for Ana; she sits down and I take a seat beside her. Mia beams at both of us from across the table. “Where did you meet Ana?” Mia asks.
“She interviewed me for the WSU student newspaper.”
“Which Kate edits,” Ana interjects.
“I want to be a journalist,” Kate tells Mia.
My father offers Ana some wine while Mia and Kate discuss journalism. Kavanagh has an internship at the Seattle Times, no doubt set up for her by her father.
From the corner of my eye I notice that Ana’s studying me.
“What?” I ask.
“Please don’t be mad at me,” she says, so low that only I can hear.
“I’m not mad at you,” I lie.
Her eyes narrow, and it’s obvious she doesn’t believe me.
“Yes, I am mad at you,” I confess. And now I feel like I’m overreacting. I close my eyes.
Get a grip, Grey.
“Palm-twitchingly mad?” she whispers.
“What are you two whispering about?” Kavanagh interrupts.
Good God! Is she always like this? So intrusive? How the hell does Elliot put up with her? I glower at her, and she has the sense to back off.
“Just about my trip to Georgia,” Ana says, with sweetness and charm.
Kate smirks. “How was José when you went to the bar with him on Friday?” she asks, with a brash look in my direction.
What. The. Fuck. Is. This?
Ana tenses beside me.
“He was fine,” she says quietly.
“Palm-twitchingly mad,” I whisper to her. “Especially now.”
So she went to a bar with the guy who was trying to ram his tongue down her throat the last time I saw him. And she’d already agreed to be mine. Sneaking off to a bar with another man? And without my permission…
She deserves to be punished.
Around me, dinner is being served.
I’ve agreed not to go too hard on her…maybe I should use a flogger. Or maybe I should administer a straightforward spanking, harder than the last one. Here, tonight.
Yes. That has possibilities.
Ana’s looking down at her fingers. Kate, Elliot, and Mia are in a conversation about French cooking, and Dad returns to the table. Where’s he been?
“Call for you, darling. It’s the hospital,” he says to Grace.
“Please start, everyone,” Mom says, passing a plate of food to Ana.
Ana licks her lips and the action resonates in my groin. She must be starving. Good. That’s something.
Mom has surpassed herself: chorizo, scallops, peppers. Nice. And I realize that I, too, am hungry. That can’t be helping my mood. But I brighten watching Ana eat.
Grace returns, looking worried. “Everything okay?” Dad asks, and we all look up at her.
“Another measles case.” Grace sighs heavily.
“Oh no,” Dad says.
“Yes, a child. The fourth case this month. If only people would get their kids vaccinated.” Grace shakes her head. “I’m so glad our children never went through that. They never caught anything worse than chicken pox, thank goodness. Poor Elliot.” We all look at Elliot, who stops eating, mid-chew, mouth stuffed full, bovine. He’s uncomfortable being the center of attention.
Kavanagh gives Grace a questioning look.
“Christian and Mia were lucky,” Grace explains. “They got it so mildly, only a spot to share between them.”
Oh, give it a rest, Mom.
“So, did you catch the Mariners game, Dad?” Elliot’s clearly keen to move the conversation on, as am I.
“I can’t believe they beat the Yankees,” Carrick says.
“Did you watch the game, hotshot?” Elliot asks me.
“No. But I read the sports column.”
“The M’s are going places. Nine games won out of the last eleven, gives me hope.” Dad sounds excited.
“They’re certainly having a better season than 2010,” I add.
“Gutierrez in center field was awesome. That catch! Wow.” Elliot throws up his arms. Kavanagh fawns over him like a lovesick fool.
“How are you settling into your new apartment, dear?” Grace asks Ana.
“We’ve only been there one night, and I still have to unpack, but I love that it’s so central-and a short walk to Pike Place, and near the water.”
“Oh, so you’re close to Christian, then,” Grace remarks.
Mom’s helper starts to clear the table. I still can’t remember her name. She’s Swiss, or Austrian or something, and she doesn’t stop simpering and batting eyelashes at me.
“Have you been to Paris, Ana?” Mia asks.
“No, but I’d love to go.”
“We honeymooned in Paris,” Mom says. She and Dad exchange a look across the table, which frankly I’d prefer not to see. They obviously had a good time.
“It’s a beautiful city, in spite of the Parisians. Christian, you should take Ana to Paris!” Mia exclaims.
“I think Anastasia would prefer London,” I respond to my sister’s ridiculous suggestion. Placing my hand on Ana’s knee, I explore her thigh at a leisurely pace, her dress riding up as my fingers follow. I want to touch her; stroke her where her panties should be. As my cock rouses in anticipation I suppress a groan and shuffle in my seat.
She jerks away from me as if to cross her legs, and I close my hand around her thigh.
Don’t you dare!
Ana takes a sip of wine, not taking her eyes off my mother’s housekeeper, who is serving our entrées.
“So what was wrong with the Parisians? Didn’t they take to your winsome ways?” Elliot teases Mia.
“Ugh, no, they didn’t. And Monsieur Floubert, the ogre I was working for, he was such a domineering tyrant.”
Ana chokes on her wine.
“Anastasia, are you okay?” I ask, and release her thigh.
She nods, her cheeks red, and I pat her back and gently caress her neck. Domineering tyrant? Am I? The thought amuses me. Mia shoots me a look of approval at my public display of affection.
Mom has cooked her signature dish, Beef Wellington, a recipe she picked up in London. I have to say it ranks close to yesterday’s buttermilk fried chicken. In spite of her choking episode, Ana tucks into her meal and it’s so good to see her eat. She’s probably hungry after our energetic afternoon. I take a sip of my wine as I contemplate other ways to make her hungry.
Mia and Kavanagh are discussing the relative merits of St. Bart’s vs. Barbados, where the Kavanagh family will be staying.
“Remember Elliot and the jellyfish?” Mia’s eyes shine with mirth as she looks from Elliot to me.
I chuckle. “Screaming like a girl? Yeah.”
“Hey, that could have been a Portuguese man-of-war! I hate jellyfish. They ruin everything.” Elliot is emphatic. Mia and Kate burst into giggles, nodding in agreement.
Ana is eating heartily and listening to the banter. Everyone else has calmed down, and my family is being less weird. Why am I so tense? This happens every day all across the country, families gathering to enjoy good food and each other’s company. Am I tense because I have Ana here? Am I worried they won’t like her, or that she won’t like them? Or is it because she’s fucking off to Georgia tomorrow, and I knew nothing about that?
Mia takes center stage as usual. Her tales of French life and French cooking are entertaining. “Oh, Mom, les pâtisseries sont tout simplement fabuleuses. La tarte aux pommes de M. Floubert est incroyable,” she says.
“Mia, chérie, tu parles français,” I interrupt her. “Nous parlons anglais ici. Eh bien, à l’exception bien sûr d’Elliot. Il parle idiote, couramment.”
Mia throws her head back with a bellowing laugh, and it’s impossible not to join her.
But by the end of dinner the tension is really wearing me down. I want to be alone with my girl. I’ve only so much tolerance for inane chatter, even if it’s with my family, and I’ve reached my limit. I peer down at Ana, then reach over and tug her chin. “Don’t bite your lip. I want to do that.”
I also have to establish a few ground rules. We need to discuss her impromptu trip to Georgia and going out for drinks with men who are infatuated with her. I put my hand on Ana’s knee again; I need to touch her. Besides, she should accept my touch, whenever I want to touch her. I gauge her reaction as my fingers travel up her thigh toward her panty-free zone, teasing her skin. Her breath catches and she squeezes her thighs together, blocking my fingers, stopping me.
I have to excuse us from the dinner table. “Shall I give you a tour of the grounds?” I ask Ana, and I don’t give her a chance to answer. Her eyes are luminous and serious as she places her hand in mine.
“Excuse me,” she says to Carrick, and I lead her out of the dining room.
In the kitchen Mia and Mom are clearing up. “I’m going to show Anastasia the backyard,” I announce to my mother, pretending to be cheerful.
Outside, my mood plunges south as my anger surfaces.
Panties. The photographer. Georgia.
We cross the terrace and climb the steps to the lawn. Ana pauses for a moment to admire the view.
Yeah, yeah. Seattle. Lights. Moon. Water.
I continue across the vast lawn toward my parents’ boathouse.
“Stop, please,” Ana pleads.
I do, and glare at her.
“My heels. I need to take my shoes off.”
“Don’t bother,” I growl, and lift her quickly over my shoulder. She squeals in surprise.
Hell. I smack her ass, hard. “Keep your voice down!” I snap, and stride across the lawn.
“Where are we going?” she wails as she bounces on my shoulder.
“I need to be alone with you.”
“Because I’m going to spank and then fuck you.”
“Why?” she whines.
“You know why,” I snap.
“I thought you were an in-the-moment guy?”
“Anastasia, I’m in the moment, trust me.”
Throwing open the boathouse door, I step inside and switch on the light. As the fluorescents ping to life I head upstairs to the snug. There I flip another switch, and halogens illuminate the room.
I slide Ana down my body, glorying in the feel of her, and I set her on her feet. Her hair is dark and untamed, her eyes shining in the glow of the lights, and I know she’s not wearing her panties. I want her. Now.
“Please don’t hit me,” she whispers.
I don’t understand. I stare down at her blankly.
“I don’t want you to spank me, not here, not now. Please don’t.”
But…I gape at her, paralyzed. That’s why we’re here. She lifts her hand, and for a moment I don’t know what she’s going to do. The darkness stirs and twists around my throat, threatening to choke me if she touches me. But she places her fingers on my cheek and gently skims them down to my chin. The darkness melts into oblivion and I close my eyes, feeling her gentle fingertips on me. With her other hand she ruffles my hair, running her fingers through it.
“Ah,” I moan, and I don’t know if it’s from fear or longing. I’m breathless, standing on a precipice. When I open my eyes, she steps forward so her body is flush against mine. She fists both hands in my hair and tugs gently, raising her lips to mine. And I’m watching her do this, like a bystander, not present in my body. I’m a spectator. Our lips touch and I close my eyes as she forces her tongue into my mouth. And it’s the sound of my groan that breaks the spell she’s cast.
I wrap my arms around her, kissing her back, releasing two hours of anxiety and tension into our kiss, my tongue possessing her, reconnecting with her. My hands grip her hair and I savor her taste, her tongue, her frame against mine as my body ignites like gasoline.
When I pull away we’re both dragging air into our lungs, her hands clutching my arms. I’m confused. I wanted to spank her. But she’s said no. Like she did at the dinner table. “What are you doing to me?” I ask.
“You said no.”
“What?” She’s bewildered, or maybe she’s forgotten what happened.
“At the dinner table, with your legs.”
“But we were at your parents’ dining table.”
“No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so-hot.” And different. I slide my hand around her backside and jolt her against me, trying to regain control.
“You’re mad and turned on because I said no?” Her voice is throaty.
“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.”
And you’re not wearing panties.
My fingers inch her dress up her legs. “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.”
Holding her against me, I see that she’s panting as I slip my hand through her pubic hair and slide my middle finger inside her. I hear a low, sexy hum of appreciation in her throat. She’s so ready.
“This is mine. All mine. Do you understand?” I slip my finger in and out of her, holding her, as her lips part with shock and desire.
“Yes, yours,” she whispers.
Yes. Mine. And I won’t let you forget it, Ana.
I push her down onto the couch, unzip my fly, and lie down on top of her, pinning her beneath me. “Hands on your head,” I growl through clenched teeth. I kneel up and spread my knees, forcing her legs wider. From the inside pocket of my jacket I take out a condom, then discard my jacket on the floor. With my eyes on hers I open the packet and roll it down my eager dick. Ana places her hands on her head, watching me, her eyes glinting with need. As I crawl over her she’s squirming beneath me, her hips rising to tease and greet me.
“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,” I order, focusing on her dazed wide eyes, and with a swift, hard move I bury myself inside her. She calls out in a welcome and familiar cry of pleasure. I hold her down so she can’t move, and I start to fuck her, consuming her. But greedily she tilts her pelvis, meeting me thrust for thrust, spurring me on.
Oh, Ana. Yes, baby.
She gives it back to me, matching my fervent pace, over and over.
Oh, the feel of her.
And I’m lost. In her. In this. In her scent. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m mad or tense or…
Yessss. I come quickly, losing all reason as I explode inside her. I still. Filling her. Owning her. Reminding her that she’s mine.
I pull out of her and kneel up.
“Don’t touch yourself.” My voice is hoarse and breathless. “I want you frustrated. That’s what you do to me by not talking to me, by denying me what’s mine.”
She nods, sprawled out beneath me, her dress bunched up around her waist so I can see she’s wide and wet and wanting, and looking every bit the goddess that she is. I stand up, remove the wretched condom and knot it, then dress, picking up my jacket from the floor.
I take a deep breath. I’m calmer now. Much calmer.
Fuck, that was good.
“We’d better get back to the house.”
She sits up, staring at me with dark, inscrutable eyes.
Lord, she’s lovely.
“Here. You may put these on.” From my jacket pocket I fish out her lacy panties and pass them to her. I think she’s trying not to laugh.
Yeah, yeah. Game, set, and match to you, Miss Steele.
“Christian!” Mia yells from the floor below.
“Just in time. Christ, she can be really irritating.” But that’s my little sister. Alarmed, I glance at Ana as she slips on her underwear. She scowls at me as she stands to straighten her dress and fixes her hair with her fingers.
“Up here, Mia,” I call. “Well, Miss Steele, I feel better for that-but I still want to spank you.”
“I don’t believe I deserve it, Mr. Grey, especially after tolerating your unprovoked attack.” She is crisp and formal.
“Unprovoked? You kissed me.”
“It was attack as the best form of defense.”
“Defense against what?”
“You and your twitchy palm.” She’s trying to suppress a smile.
Mia’s high heels rattle up the stairs.
“But it was tolerable?” I ask.
Ana smirks. “Barely.”
“Oh, there you are!” Mia exclaims, beaming at the two of us. Two minutes earlier and this could have been really awkward.
“I was showing Anastasia around.” I hold out my hand to Ana and she takes it. I want to kiss her knuckles, but I settle for 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 wrinkles her nose in distaste. “What have you been doing in here?”
“Showing Anastasia my rowing trophies.” With my free hand I wave toward the faux-precious-metal statuettes from my sculling days at Harvard arranged on shelves at the end of the room. “Let’s go say good-bye to Kate and Elliot.”
Mia turns to go and I let Ana precede me, but before we get to the stairs I smack her behind.
She smothers her yelp.
“I will do it again, Anastasia, and soon,” I whisper in her ear, and folding her into my arms, I kiss her hair.
We walk hand in hand across the lawn back to the house while Mia gabbles beside us. It’s a beautiful evening; it’s been a beautiful day. I’m glad Ana’s met my family.
Why haven’t I done this before?
Because I’ve never wanted to.
I squeeze Ana’s hand, and she gives me a shy look and an oh-so-sweet smile. In my other hand I hold her shoes, and at the stone steps I bend down to fasten each of her sandals in turn.
“There,” I announce when I’m done.
“Why, thank you, Mr. Grey,” she says.
“The pleasure is, and was, all mine.”
“I’m well aware of that, Sir,” she teases.
“Oh, you two are sooo sweet!” Mia coos as we head into the kitchen. Ana gives me a sideways look.
Back in the hallway, Kavanagh and Elliot are about to leave. Ana hugs Kate, but then pulls her aside to have a heated private conversation. What the hell is that about? Elliot takes Kavanagh’s arm and my parents wave them off as they climb into Elliot’s pickup.
“We should go, too-you have interviews tomorrow.” We have to drive her back to her new apartment and it’s nearly 11:00.
“We never thought he’d find anyone!” Mia gushes as she hugs Ana, hard.
Oh, for fuck’s sake…
“Take care of yourself, Ana dear,” Grace says, smiling warmly at my girl. I pull Ana to my side.
“Let’s not frighten her away or spoil her with too much affection.”
“Christian, stop teasing,” Grace chastises me in her usual manner.
“Mom.” I give her a quick peck. Thank you for inviting Ana. It’s been a revelation.
Ana says good-bye to my dad, and we head to the Audi, where Taylor waits, holding the rear passenger door open for her.
“Well, it seems my family likes you, too,” I observe when I’ve joined Ana in the back. Her eyes reflect the light from my parents’ porch, but I can’t tell what she’s thinking. Shadows shroud her face as Taylor drives smoothly out onto the road.
I catch her staring at me under the flicker of a street lamp. She’s anxious. Something’s wrong.
“What?” I ask.
She is quiet at first, and when she speaks there’s an emptiness in her voice. “I think that you felt trapped into bringing me to meet your parents. If Elliot hadn’t asked Kate, you’d never have asked me.”
Damn. She doesn’t understand. It was a first for me. I was nervous. Surely she knows by now that if I didn’t want her here, she wouldn’t be here. As we pass from light to shadow under the street lamps, she looks distant and upset.
Grey, this will not do.
“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?” I shake my head, reach for her hand, and give it another reassuring squeeze.
She glances nervously at Taylor.
“Don’t worry about Taylor. Talk to me.”
“Yes. I thought that,” she says quietly. “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?”
My anxiety surfaces. Does she want out? If she goes to Georgia, her mother might persuade her to find someone more…suitable, someone who, like her mother, believes in romance.
I have an idea. She’s met my folks; I’ve met Ray; perhaps I should meet her mother, the incurable romantic. Charm her.
“Can I come with you?” I ask, knowing that she’ll say no.
“Um, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she answers, surprised by my question.
“I was hoping for a break from all this…intensity. To try to think things through.”
Shit. She does want to leave me.
“I’m too intense?”
She laughs. “That’s putting it mildly!”
Damn, I love making her laugh, even if it is at my expense; and I’m relieved she’s kept her sense of humor. Perhaps she doesn’t want to leave me after all. “Are you laughing at me, Miss Steele?” I tease.
“I wouldn’t dare, Mr. Grey.”
“I think you dare, and I think you do laugh at me, frequently.”
“You are quite funny.”
She’s making fun of me. It’s novel. “Funny peculiar or funny ha-ha?”
“Oh, a lot of one and some of the other.”
“Which way more?”
“I’ll leave you to figure that out.”
I sigh. “I’m not sure if I can figure anything out around you.” My tone is dry. “What do you need to think about in Georgia?”
Fuck. “You said you’d try,” I gently remind her.
“Are you having second thoughts?”
It’s worse than I feared. “Why?”
She stares at me in silence. “Why, Anastasia?” I persist. She shrugs, her mouth turned down, and I hope she’ll find her hand in mine reassuring. “Talk to me. I don’t want to lose you. This last week-”
Has been the best in my life.
“I still want more,” she breathes.
Oh no, not this again. What does she need me to say?
“I know. I’ll try.” I clasp her chin. “For you, Anastasia, I will try.”
I’ve just taken you to meet my parents, for heaven’s sake.
Suddenly she unbuckles her seatbelt, and before I know it she’s scrambled into my lap.
What the hell?
I sit immobile as her arms slip around my head, and her lips find mine, and coax a kiss from me before the darkness has a chance to stir. My hands slide up her back until I’m cradling her head and returning her passion, exploring her sweet, sweet mouth, trying to find answers…Her unexpected affection is utterly disarming. And new. And confusing. I thought she wanted to leave, and now she’s in my lap and turning me on, again.
I’ve never…never…Don’t go, Ana.
“Stay with me tonight. If you go away, I won’t see you all week. Please,” I whisper.
“Yes,” she murmurs. “And I’ll try, too. I’ll sign your contract.”
“Sign after Georgia. Think about it. Think about it hard.” I want her to do this willingly-I don’t want to force this on her. Well, part of me doesn’t. The rational part.
“I will,” she says, and nestles against me.
This woman has me tied up in knots.
And I want to laugh because I’m relieved and happy, but I hold her, breathing in her redolent and comforting scent.
“You really should wear your seatbelt,” I scold, but I don’t want her to move. She stays wrapped in my embrace, her body slowly relaxing against mine. The darkness inside me is quiet, contained, and I’m confused by my warring emotions. What do I want out of her? What do I need out of her?
This is not how we should be progressing, but I like her in my arms; I like cradling her like this. I kiss her hair, and lean back and enjoy the ride into Seattle.
Taylor stops outside the entrance to Escala. “We’re home,” I whisper to Ana. I’m reluctant to release her, but I lift her onto her seat. Taylor opens her door and she joins me at the entrance to the building.
A shiver runs through her.
“Why don’t you have a jacket?” I ask as I slip mine off and drape it over her shoulders.
“It’s in my new car,” she says, yawning.
“Tired, Miss Steele?”
“Yes, Mr. Grey. 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.” If I get lucky.
She leans against the wall of the elevator as we travel up to the penthouse. Under my jacket she looks slim and small and sexy. If she wasn’t wearing her underwear I could take her in here… I reach up and free her lip from her 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.” I bend down and gently take her bottom lip in my teeth. Her breath catches and she returns the gesture with her teeth and my upper lip.
I feel it in my groin.
I want to take her to bed and lose myself in her. After our conversation in the car I just want to be sure she’s mine. When we exit the elevator I offer her a drink, but she declines.
“Good. Let’s go to bed.”
She looks surprised. “You’re going to settle for plain old vanilla?”
“Nothing plain or old about vanilla. It’s a very intriguing flavor.”
“Since last Saturday. Why? Were you hoping for something more exotic?”
“Oh no. I’ve had enough exotic for one day.”
“Sure? We cater for all tastes here-at least thirty-one flavors.” I give her a lascivious look.
“I’ve noticed.” She raises one fine eyebrow.
“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.”
Yeah. I can think of one way.
Closing the door of my bedroom, I feel lighter than I did in the car. She’s still here. “Hands in the air,” I order, and she does as she’s told. I grip the hem of her dress and in one smooth move pull it up and over her body to reveal the beautiful woman beneath.
“Ta-da!” I’m a magician. Ana giggles and gives me a round of applause. I bow, enjoying the game, before placing her dress on my chair.
“And for your next trick?” she asks, eyes glittering.
“Oh, my dear Miss Steele. Get into my bed, and I’ll show you.”
“Do you think that for once I should play hard to get?” she teases, tilting her head to one side so her hair tumbles over her shoulder.
A new game. This is interesting.
“Well, the door’s closed. Not sure how you’re going to avoid me. I think it’s a done deal.”
“But I’m a good negotiator,” she says, her voice soft but determined.
“So am I.”
Okay, what’s going on here? Is she reluctant? Too tired? What? “Don’t you want to fuck?” I ask, confused.
“No,” she whispers.
“Oh.” Well, that’s disappointing.
She swallows, then says in a small voice, “I want you to make love to me.”
I stare at her, bemused.
What exactly does she mean?
Make love? We do. We have. It’s just another term for fucking.
She studies me, her expression grave. Hell. Is this her idea of more? All the hearts-and-flowers shit, is that what she means? But we’re just talking semantics, surely? This is semantics. “Ana, I-” What does she want from me? “I thought we did.”
“I want to touch you.”
Fuck. No. I step back as the darkness closes around my ribs.
“Please,” she whispers.
No. No. Haven’t I made it clear?
I can’t bear to be touched. I can’t.
“Oh no, Miss Steele, you’ve had enough concessions from me this evening. And I’m saying no.”
“No?” she queries.
And for a moment I want to send her home, or upstairs-anywhere away from me. Not here.
Don’t touch me.
She’s watching me warily and I think about the fact that she’s leaving tomorrow and I won’t see her for a while. I sigh. I don’t have the energy for this. “Look, you’re tired, I’m tired. Let’s just go to bed.”
“So touching is a hard limit for you?”
“Yes. This is old news.” I can’t keep the exasperation out of my voice.
“Please tell me why.”
I don’t want to go there. This is not a conversation I want to have. Ever. “Oh, Anastasia, please. Just drop it for now.”
Her face falls. “It’s important to me,” she says, a hesitant plea in her voice.
“Fuck this,” I mutter to myself. At the chest of drawers I pull out a T-shirt and throw it to her. “Put that on and get into bed.” Why am I even letting her sleep with me? But it’s a rhetorical question: deep down I know the answer. It’s because I sleep better with her.
She’s my dream catcher.
She keeps my nightmares at bay.
She turns away from me and removes her bra, then slips on the T-shirt.
What did I say to her in the playroom this afternoon? She shouldn’t hide her body from me.
“I need the bathroom,” she says.
“Now you’re asking permission?”
“Anastasia, you know where the bathroom is. Today, at this point in our strange arrangement, you don’t need my permission to use it.” I unbutton my shirt and slip it off, and she dashes past me out of the bedroom as I try to contain my temper.
What’s gotten into her?
One evening at my parents’ and she’s expecting serenades and sunsets and fucking walks in the rain. That’s not what I’m about. I’ve told her this. I don’t do romance. I sigh heavily as I remove my pants.
But she wants more. She wants all that romantic shit.
In my closet I throw my pants into the laundry basket and pull on my PJ bottoms, and then wander back into my bedroom.
This isn’t going to work, Grey.
But I want it to work.
You should let her go.
No. I can make this work. Somehow.
The radio alarm reads 11:46. Time for bed. I check my phone for any urgent e-mails. There’s nothing. I give the bathroom door a brisk knock.
“Come in,” Ana garbles. She’s brushing her teeth, literally foaming at the mouth-with my toothbrush. She spits into the sink as I stand beside her, and we stare at each other in the mirror. Her eyes are bright with mischief and humor. She rinses off the toothbrush and without a word hands it to me. I put it in my mouth and she looks pleased with herself.
And just like that, all the tension from our previous exchange evaporates.
“Do feel free to borrow my toothbrush,” I say sardonically.
“Thank you, Sir.” She beams, and for a moment I think she’s going to curtsey, but she leaves me to brush my teeth.
When I reenter the bedroom she’s stretched out under the covers. She should be stretched out under me. “You know this is not how I saw tonight panning out.” I sound sullen.
“Imagine if I said to you that you couldn’t touch me,” she says, as argumentative as ever.
She’s not going to let this go. I sit down on the bed. “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?”
No one should have this shit in their head!
“Because I want to know you better.”
“You know me well enough.”
“How can you say that?” She sits up and kneels facing me, earnest and eager.
Ana. Ana. Ana. Let it go. For fuck’s sake.
“You’re rolling your eyes,” she says. “Last time I did that, I ended up over your knee.”
“Oh, I’d like to put you there again.” Right now.
Her face brightens. “Tell me, and you can.”
“You heard me.”
“You’re bargaining with me?” My voice betrays my disbelief.
She nods. “Negotiating.”
I frown. “It doesn’t work that way, Anastasia.”
“Okay. Tell me, and I’ll roll my eyes at you.”
I laugh. Now she is being ridiculous, and cute in my T-shirt. Her face shines with longing.
“Always so keen and eager for information,” I marvel. And a thought occurs to me: I could spank her. I’ve wanted to since dinner, but I could make it fun.
I get off the bed. “Don’t go away,” I warn, and leave the room. From my study I pick up the key to the playroom and head upstairs. In the playroom chest I retrieve the toys I want and contemplate lube as well, but on reflection, and judging from recent experience, I don’t think Ana will need any.
She’s sitting on the bed when I get back, her expression bright with curiosity.
“When’s your first interview tomorrow?” I ask.
Excellent. No early morning.
“Good. Get off the bed. Stand over here.” I point to a spot in front of me. Ana scrambles off the bed with no hesitation, eager as ever. She’s waiting.
She nods, and I hold out my hand, revealing two silver kegel balls. She frowns and looks from the balls to me. “These are new. 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.”Fifty Shades Freed Extended Version