ANASTASIA ROSE STEELE
Sept. 10, 1989, Montesano, WA
1114 SW Green Street, Apartment 7, Haven
Heights, Vancouver, WA 98888
Social Security No:
Wells Fargo Bank, Vancouver, WA:
Acct. No.: 309361:
WSU Vancouver College of Arts and Sciences
Montesano Jr. Sr. High School
Clayton’s Hardware Store, NW Vancouver
Drive, Portland, OR (part-time)
Franklin A. Lambert, DOB: Sept. 1, 1969,
Deceased Sept. 11, 1989
Carla May Wilks Adams,
DOB: July 18, 1970
m. Frank Lambert March 1, 1989,
widowed Sept. 11, 1989
m. Raymond Steele June 6, 1990,
divorced July 12, 2006
m. Stephen M. Morton Aug. 16, 2006,
divorced Jan. 31, 2007
m. Bob Adams April 6, 2009
None Indicated at Present
I pore over the executive summary for the hundredth time since I received it two days ago, looking for some insight into the enigmatic Miss Anastasia Rose Steele. I cannot get the damned woman out of my mind, and it’s seriously beginning to piss me off. This past week, during particularly dull meetings, I’ve found myself replaying the interview in my head. Her fumbling fingers on the recorder, the way she tucked her hair behind her ear, the lip biting. Yes. The lip biting gets me every time.
And now here I am, parked outside Clayton’s, a mom-and-pop hardware store on the outskirts of Portland where she works.
You’re a fool, Grey. Why are you here?
I knew it would lead to this. All week…I knew I’d have to see her again. I’d known it since she uttered my name in the elevator. I’d tried to resist. I’d waited five days, five tedious days, to see if I’d forget about her.
And I don’t do waiting. I hate waiting…for anything.
I’ve never pursued a woman before. The women I’ve had understood what I expected of them. My fear now is that Miss Steele is just too young and that she won’t be interested in what I have to offer. Will she? Will she even make a good submissive? I shake my head. So here I am, an ass, sitting in a suburban parking lot in a dreary part of Portland.
Her background check has produced nothing remarkable-except the last fact, which has been at the forefront of my mind. It’s the reason I’m here. Why no boyfriend, Miss Steele? Sexual orientation unknown-perhaps she’s gay. I snort, thinking that unlikely. I recall the question she asked during the interview, her acute embarrassment, the way her skin flushed a pale rose…I’ve been suffering from these lascivious thoughts since I met her.
That’s why you’re here.
I’m itching to see her again-those blue eyes have haunted me, even in my dreams. I haven’t mentioned her to Flynn, and I’m glad because I’m now behaving like a stalker. Perhaps I should let him know. No. I don’t want him hounding me about his latest solution-based-therapy shit. I just need a distraction, and right now the only distraction I want is the one working as a salesclerk in a hardware store.
You’ve come all this way. Let’s see if little Miss Steele is as appealing as you remember.
A bell chimes a flat electronic note as I walk into the store. It’s much bigger than it looks from the outside, and although it’s almost lunchtime the place is quiet, for a Saturday. There are aisles and aisles of the usual junk you’d expect. I’d forgotten the possibilities that a hardware store could present to someone like me. I mainly shop online for my needs, but while I’m here, maybe I’ll stock up on a few items: Velcro, split rings-Yeah. I’ll find the delectable Miss Steele and have some fun.
It takes me all of three seconds to spot her. She’s hunched over the counter, staring intently at a computer screen and picking at her lunch-a bagel. Absentmindedly, she wipes a crumb from the corner of her lips and into her mouth and sucks on her finger. My cock twitches in response.
What am I, fourteen?
My body’s reaction is irritating. Maybe this will stop if I fetter, fuck, and flog her…and not necessarily in that order. Yeah. That’s what I need.
She is thoroughly absorbed by her task, and it gives me an opportunity to study her. Salacious thoughts aside, she’s attractive, seriously attractive. I’ve remembered her well.
She looks up and freezes. It’s as unnerving as the first time I met her. She pins me with a discerning stare-shocked, I think-and I don’t know if this is a good response or a bad response.
“Miss Steele. What a pleasant surprise.”
“Mr. Grey,” she says, breathy and flustered. Ah, a good response.
“I was in the area. I need to stock up on a few things. It’s a pleasure to see you again.” A real pleasure. She’s dressed in a tight T-shirt and jeans, not the shapeless shit she was wearing earlier this week. She’s all long legs, narrow waist, and perfect tits. Her lips are still parted in surprise, and I have to resist the urge to tip her chin up and close her mouth. I’ve flown from Seattle just to see you, and the way you look right now, it was really worth the journey.
“Ana. My name’s Ana. What can I help you with, Mr. Grey?” She takes a deep breath, squares her shoulders like she did in the interview, and gives me a fake smile that I’m sure she reserves for customers.
Game on, Miss Steele.
“There are a few items I need. To start with, I’d like some cable ties.”
My request catches her off guard; she looks stunned.
Oh, this is going to be fun. You’d be amazed what I can do with a few cable ties, baby.
“We stock various lengths. Shall I show you?” she says, finding her voice.
“Please. Lead the way.”
She steps out from behind the counter and gestures toward one of the aisles. She’s wearing chucks. Idly I wonder what she’d look like in skyscraper heels. Louboutins…nothing but Louboutins.
“They’re with the electrical goods, aisle eight.” Her voice wavers and she blushes…
She is affected by me. Hope blooms in my chest.
She’s not gay, then. I smirk.
“After you.” I hold my hand out for her to lead the way. Letting her walk ahead gives me the space and time to admire her fantastic ass. Her long, thick ponytail keeps time like a metronome to the gentle sway of her hips. She really is the whole package: sweet, polite, and beautiful, with all the physical attributes I value in a submissive. But the million-dollar question is, could she be a submissive? She probably knows nothing of the lifestyle-my lifestyle-but I very much want to introduce her to it. You are getting way ahead of yourself on this deal, Grey.
“Are you in Portland on business?” she asks, interrupting my thoughts. Her voice is high; she’s feigning disinterest. It makes me want to laugh. Women rarely make me laugh.
“I was visiting the WSU farming division. It’s based in Vancouver,” I lie. Actually, I’m here to see you, Miss Steele.
Her face falls, and I feel like a shit.
“I’m currently funding some research there in crop rotation and soil science.” That, at least, is true.
“All part of your feed-the-world plan?” She arches a brow, amused.
“Something like that,” I mutter. Is she laughing at me? Oh, I’d love to put a stop to that if she is. But how to start? Maybe with dinner, rather than the usual interview…now, that would be novel: taking a prospect out to dinner.
We arrive at the cable ties, which are arranged in an assortment of lengths and colors. Absentmindedly, my fingers trace over the packets. I could just ask her out for dinner. Like on a date? Would she accept? When I glance at her she’s examining her knotted fingers. She can’t look at me…this is promising. I select the longer ties. They are more flexible, after all, as they can accommodate two ankles and two wrists at once.
“These will do.”
“Is there anything else?” she says quickly-either she’s being super-attentive or she wants to get me out of the store, I don’t know which.
“I’d like some masking tape.”
“Are you redecorating?”
“No, not redecorating.” Oh, if you only knew…
“This way,” she says. “Masking tape is in the decorating aisle.”
Come on, Grey. You don’t have much time. Engage her in some conversation. “Have you worked here long?” Of course, I already know the answer. Unlike some people, I do my research. For some reason she’s embarrassed. Christ, this girl is shy. I don’t have a hope in hell. She turns quickly and walks down the aisle toward the section labeled Decorating. I follow her eagerly, like a puppy.
“Four years,” she mumbles as we reach the masking tape. She bends down and grasps two rolls, each a different width.
“I’ll take that one.” The wider tape is much more effective as a gag. As she passes it to me, the tips of our fingers touch, briefly. It resonates in my groin. Damn!
She pales. “Anything else?” Her voice is soft and husky.
Christ, I’m having the same effect on her that she has on me. Maybe…
“Some rope, I think.”
“This way.” She scoots up the aisle, giving me another chance to appreciate her fine ass.
“What sort were you after? We have synthetic and natural filament rope…twine…cable cord…”
Shit-stop. I groan inwardly, trying to chase away the image of her suspended from the ceiling in my playroom.
“I’ll take five yards of the natural filament rope, please.” It’s coarser and chafes more if you struggle against it…my rope of choice.
A tremor runs through her fingers, but she measures out five yards like a pro. Pulling a utility knife from her right pocket, she cuts the rope in one swift gesture, coils it neatly, and ties it off with a slipknot. Impressive.
“Were you a Girl Scout?”
“Organized group activities aren’t really my thing, Mr. Grey.”
“What is your thing, Anastasia?” Her pupils dilate as I stare.
“Books,” she answers.
“What kind of books?”
“Oh, you know. The usual. The classics. British literature, mainly.”
British literature? The Brontës and Austen, I bet. All those romantic hearts-and-flowers types.
That’s not good.
“Anything else you need?”
“I don’t know. What else would you recommend?” I want to see her reaction.
“For a do-it-yourselfer?” she asks, surprised.
I want to hoot with laughter. Oh, baby, DIY is not my thing. I nod, stifling my mirth. Her eyes flick down my body and I tense. She’s checking me out!
“Coveralls,” she blurts out.
It’s the most unexpected thing I’ve heard her say since the “Are you gay?” question.
“You wouldn’t want to ruin your clothing.” She gestures to my jeans.
I can’t resist. “I could always take them off.”
“Um.” She flushes beet red and stares down.
I put her out of her misery. “I’ll take some coveralls. Heaven forbid I should ruin any clothing.” Without a word, she turns and walks briskly up the aisle, and I follow in her enticing wake.
“Do you need anything else?” she says, sounding breathless as she hands me a pair of blue coveralls. She’s mortified, eyes still cast down. Christ, she does things to me.
“How’s the article coming along?” I ask, in the hope she might relax a little.
She looks up and gives me a brief relieved smile.
“I’m not writing it, Katherine is. Miss Kavanagh. My roommate, she’s the writer. She’s very happy with it. She’s the editor of the newspaper, and she was devastated that she couldn’t do the interview in person.”
It’s the longest sentence she’s uttered since we first met, and she’s talking about someone else, not herself. Interesting.
Before I can comment, she adds, “Her only concern is that she doesn’t have any original photographs of you.”
The tenacious Miss Kavanagh wants photographs. Publicity stills, eh? I can do that. It will allow me to spend time with the delectable Miss Steele.
“What sort of photographs does she want?”
She gazes at me for a moment, then shakes her head, perplexed, not knowing what to say.
“Well, I’m around. Tomorrow, perhaps…” I can stay in Portland. Work from a hotel. A room at The Heathman, perhaps. I’ll need Taylor to come down, bring my laptop and some clothes. Or Elliot-unless he’s screwing around, which is his usual MO over the weekend.
“You’d be willing to do a photo shoot?” She cannot contain her surprise.
I give her a brief nod. Yeah, I want to spend more time with you…
“Kate will be delighted-if we can find a photographer.” She smiles and her face lights up like a cloudless dawn. She’s breathtaking.
“Let me know about tomorrow.” I pull my wallet from my jeans. “My card. It has my cell number on it. You’ll need to call before ten in the morning.” And if she doesn’t, I’ll head on back to Seattle and forget about this stupid venture.
The thought depresses me.
“Okay.” She continues to grin.
“Ana!” We both turn as a young man dressed in casual designer gear appears at the far end of the aisle. His eyes are all over Miss Anastasia Steele. Who the hell is this prick?
“Er, excuse me for a moment, Mr. Grey.” She walks toward him, and the asshole engulfs her in a gorilla-like hug. My blood runs cold. It’s a primal response.
Get your fucking paws off her.
I fist my hands and am only slightly mollified when she doesn’t return his hug.
They fall into a whispered conversation. Maybe Welch’s facts were wrong. Maybe this guy is her boyfriend. He looks the right age, and he can’t take his greedy little eyes off her. He holds her for a moment at arm’s length, examining her, then stands with his arm resting on her shoulder. It seems like a casual gesture, but I know he’s staking a claim and telling me to back off. She seems embarrassed, shifting from foot to foot.
Shit. I should go. I’ve overplayed my hand. She’s with this guy. Then she says something else to him and moves out of his reach, touching his arm, not his hand, shrugging him off. It’s clear they aren’t close.
“Er…Paul, this is Christian Grey. Mr. Grey, this is Paul Clayton. His brother owns the place.” She gives me an odd look that I don’t understand and continues, “I’ve known Paul ever since I’ve worked here, though we don’t see each other that often. He’s back from Princeton, where he’s studying business administration.” She’s babbling, giving me a long explanation and telling me they’re not together, I think. The boss’s brother, not a boyfriend. I’m relieved, but the extent of the relief I feel is unexpected, and it makes me frown. This woman has really gotten under my skin.
“Mr. Clayton.” My tone is deliberately clipped.
“Mr. Grey.” His handshake is limp, like his hair. Asshole. “Wait up-not the Christian Grey? Of Grey Enterprises Holdings?”
Yeah, that’s me, you prick.
In a heartbeat I watch him morph from territorial to obsequious.
“Wow-is there anything I can get you?”
“Anastasia has it covered, Mr. Clayton. She’s been very attentive.” Now fuck off.
“Cool,” he gushes, all white teeth and deferential. “Catch you later, Ana.”
“Sure, Paul,” she says, and he ambles off to the back of the store. I watch him disappear.
“Anything else, Mr. Grey?”
“Just these items,” I mutter. Shit, I’m out of time, and I still don’t know if I’m going to see her again. I have to know whether there’s a hope in hell she might consider what I have in mind. How can I ask her? Am I ready to take on a submissive who knows nothing? She’s going to need substantial training. Closing my eyes, I imagine the interesting possibilities this presents…getting there is going to be half the fun. Will she even be up for this? Or do I have it all wrong?
She walks back to the cashier’s counter and rings up my purchases, all the while keeping her eyes on the register.
Look at me, damn it! I want to see her face again and gauge what she’s thinking.
Finally she raises her head. “That will be forty-three dollars, please.”
Is that all?
“Would you like a bag?” she asks, as I pass her my AmEx.
“Please, Anastasia.” Her name-a beautiful name for a beautiful girl-flows smoothly over my tongue.
She packs the items briskly. This is it. I have to go.
“You’ll call me if you want me to do the photo shoot?”
She nods as she hands back my charge card.
“Good. Until tomorrow, perhaps.” I can’t just leave. I have to let her know I’m interested. “Oh-and Anastasia, I’m glad Miss Kavanagh couldn’t do the interview.” She looks surprised and flattered.
This is good.
I sling the bag over my shoulder and exit the store.
Yes, against my better judgment, I want her. Now I have to wait…fucking wait…again. Utilizing willpower that would make Elena proud, I keep my eyes ahead as I take my cell out of my pocket and climb into the rental car. I’m deliberately not looking back at her. I’m not. I’m not. My eyes flick to the rearview mirror, where I can see the shop door, but all I see is the quaint storefront. She’s not in the window, staring out at me.
I press 1 on speed dial and Taylor answers before the phone has a chance to ring.
“Mr. Grey,” he says.
“Make reservations at The Heathman; I’m staying in Portland this weekend, and can you bring down the SUV, my computer, and the paperwork beneath it, and a change or two of clothes.”
“Yes, sir. And Charlie Tango?”
“Have Joe move her to PDX.”
“Will do, sir. I’ll be with you in about three and a half hours.”
I hang up and start the car. So I have a few hours in Portland while I wait to see if this girl is interested in me. What to do? Time for a hike, I think. Maybe I can walk this strange hunger out of my system.
IT’S BEEN FIVE HOURS with no phone call from the delectable Miss Steele. What the hell was I thinking? I watch the street from the window of my suite at The Heathman. I loathe waiting. I always have. The weather, now cloudy, held for my hike through Forest Park, but the walk has done nothing to cure my agitation. I’m annoyed at her for not phoning, but mostly I’m angry with myself. I’m a fool for being here. What a waste of time it’s been chasing this woman. When have I ever chased a woman?
Grey, get a grip.
Sighing, I check my phone once again in the hope that I’ve just missed her call, but there’s nothing. At least Taylor has arrived and I have all my shit. I have Barney’s report on his department’s graphene tests to read and I can work in peace.
Peace? I haven’t known peace since Miss Steele fell into my office.
WHEN I GLANCE UP, dusk has shrouded my suite in gray shadows. The prospect of a night alone again is depressing. While I contemplate what to do my phone vibrates against the polished wood of the desk and an unknown but vaguely familiar number with a Washington area code flashes on the screen. Suddenly my heart is pumping as if I’ve run ten miles.
Is it her?
“Er…Mr. Grey? It’s Anastasia Steele.”
My face erupts in a shit-eating grin. Well, well. A breathy, nervous, soft-spoken Miss Steele. My evening is looking up.
“Miss Steele. How nice to hear from you.” I hear her breath hitch and the sound travels directly to my groin.
Great. I’m affecting her. Like she’s affecting me.
“Um-we’d like to go ahead with the photo shoot for the article. Tomorrow, if that’s okay. Where would be convenient for you, sir?”
In my room. Just you, me, and the cable ties.
“I’m staying at The Heathman in Portland. Shall we say nine thirty tomorrow morning?”
“Okay, we’ll see you there,” she gushes, unable to hide the relief and delight in her voice.
“I look forward to it, Miss Steele.” I hang up before she senses my excitement and how pleased I am. Leaning back in my chair, I gaze at the darkening skyline and run both my hands through my hair.
How the hell am I going to close this deal?Fifty Shades Freed Extended Version