I wake with a start and a pervading sense of guilt, as if I’ve committed a terrible sin.
Is it because I’ve fucked Anastasia Steele? Virgin?
She’s snuggled up fast asleep beside me. I check the radio alarm: it’s after three in the morning. Ana sleeps the sound sleep of an innocent. Well, not so innocent now. My body stirs as I watch her.
I could wake her.
Fuck her again.
There are definitely some advantages to having her in my bed.
Grey. Stop this nonsense.
Fucking her was merely a means to an end and a pleasant diversion.
Yes. Very pleasant.
More like incredible.
It was just sex, for fuck’s sake.
I close my eyes in what will probably be a futile attempt to sleep. But the room is too full of Ana: her scent, the sound of her soft breathing, and the memory of my first vanilla fuck. Visions of her head thrown back in passion, of her crying out a barely recognizable version of my name, and her unbridled enthusiasm for sexual congress overwhelm me.
Miss Steele is a carnal creature.
She will be a joy to train.
My cock twitches in agreement.
I can’t sleep, though tonight it’s not nightmares that keep me awake, it’s little Miss Steele. Climbing out of bed, I collect the used condoms from the floor, knot them, and dispose of them in the wastepaper basket. From the chest of drawers I pull out a pair of PJ pants and drag them on. With a lingering look at the enticing woman in my bed, I venture into the kitchen. I’m thirsty.
Once I’ve had a glass of water, I do what I always do when I can’t sleep-I check my e-mail in my study. Taylor has returned and is asking if he can stand Charlie Tango down. Stephan must be asleep upstairs. I e-mail him back with a “yes,” though at this time of night it’s a given.
Back in the living room I sit down at my piano. This is my solace, where I can lose myself for hours. I’ve been able to play well since I was nine, but it wasn’t until I had my own piano, in my own place, that it really became a passion. When I want to forget everything, this is what I do. And right now I don’t want to think about having propositioned a virgin, fucked her, or revealed my lifestyle to someone with no experience. With my hands on the keys, I begin to play and lose myself in the solitude of Bach.
A movement distracts me from the music, and when I look up Ana’s standing by the piano. Wrapped in a comforter, her hair wild and curling down her back, eyes luminous, she looks stunning.
“Sorry,” she says. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
Why is she apologizing? “Surely, I should be saying that to you.” I play the last notes and stand. “You should be in bed,” I chide.
“That was a beautiful piece. Bach?”
“Transcription by Bach, but it’s originally an oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello.”
“It was exquisite, but very sad, such a melancholy melody.”
Melancholy? It wouldn’t be the first time someone has used that word to describe me.
“May I speak freely? Sir.” Leila is kneeling beside me while I work.
“Sir, you are most melancholy today.”
“Yes, Sir. Is there something that you would like me to do…?”
I shake off the memory. Ana should be in bed. I tell her so again.
“I woke and you weren’t there.”
“I find it difficult to sleep, and I’m not used to sleeping with anyone.” I’ve told her this-and why am I justifying myself? I wrap my arm around her naked shoulders, enjoying the feel of her skin, and guide her back to the bedroom.
“How long have you been playing? You play beautifully.”
“Since I was six.” I’m abrupt.
“Oh,” she says. I think she’s taken the hint-I don’t want to talk about my childhood.
“How are you feeling?” I ask as I switch on the bedside light.
There’s blood on my sheets. Her blood. Evidence of her now-absent virginity. Her eyes dart from the stains to me and she looks away, embarrassed.
“Well, that’s going to give Mrs. Jones something to think about.”
She looks mortified.
It’s just your body, sweetheart. I grasp her chin and tip her head back so I can see her expression. I’m about to give her a short lecture on how not to be ashamed of her body, when she reaches out to touch my chest.
I step out of her reach as the darkness surfaces.
No. Don’t touch me.
“Get into bed,” I order, rather more sharply than I’d intended, but I hope she doesn’t detect my fear. Her eyes widen with confusion and maybe hurt.
“I’ll come and lie down with you,” I add, as a peace offering, and from the chest of drawers I pull out a T-shirt and quickly slip it on, for protection.
She’s still standing, staring at me. “Bed,” I command more forcefully. She scrambles into my bed and lies down and I climb in behind her, folding her in my arms. I bury my face in her hair and inhale her sweet scent: autumn and apple trees. Facing away, she can’t touch me, and while I lie there I resolve to spoon with her until she’s asleep. Then I’ll get up and do some work.
“Sleep, sweet Anastasia.” I kiss her hair and close my eyes. Her scent fills my nostrils, reminding me of a happy time and leaving me replete…content, even…
Mommy is happy today. She is singing.
Singing about what love has to do with it.
And cooking. And singing.
My tummy gurgles. She is cooking bacon and waffles.
They smell good. My tummy likes bacon and waffles.
They smell so good.
Opening my eyes, light is flooding through the windows and there’s a mouthwatering aroma coming from the kitchen. Bacon. Momentarily I’m confused. Is Gail back from her sister’s?
Then I remember.
A look at the clock tells me it’s late. I bounce out of bed and follow my nose to the kitchen.
There’s Ana. She’s wearing my shirt, her hair in braids, dancing around to some music. Only I can’t hear it. She’s wearing earbuds. Unobserved, I take a seat at the kitchen counter and watch the show. She’s whisking eggs, making breakfast, her braids bouncing as she jiggles from foot to foot, and I realize she’s not wearing underwear.
She has to be one of the most uncoordinated females I’ve ever seen. It’s amusing, charming, and strangely arousing at the same time; I think of all the ways I can improve her coordination. When she turns and spots me, she freezes.
“Good morning, Miss Steele. You’re very…energetic this morning.” She looks even younger in her braids.
“I-I slept well,” she stammers.
“I can’t imagine why,” I quip, admitting to myself that I did, too. It’s after nine. When did I last sleep past 6:30?
After I’d slept with her.
“Are you hungry?” she asks.
“Very.” And I’m not sure if it’s for breakfast or for her.
“Pancakes, bacon, and eggs?” she says.
“I don’t know where you keep your placemats,” she says, seeming at a loss, and I think she’s embarrassed, because I caught her dancing. Taking pity on her, I offer to set places for breakfast and add, “Would you like me to put some music on so you can continue your…er…dancing?”
Her cheeks pink and she looks down at the floor.
Damn. I’ve upset her. “Please, don’t stop on my account. It’s very entertaining.”
With a pout she turns her back on me and continues to whisk the eggs with gusto. I wonder if she has any idea how disrespectful this is to someone like me…but of course she doesn’t, and for some unfathomable reason it makes me smile. Sidling up to her, I gently tug one of her braids. “I love these. They won’t protect you.”
Not from me. Not now that I’ve had you.
“How would you like your eggs?” Her tone is unexpectedly haughty. And I want to laugh out loud, but I resist.
“Thoroughly whisked and beaten,” I reply, trying and failing to sound deadpan. She attempts to hide her amusement, too, and continues her task.
Her smile is bewitching.
Hastily, I set up the placemats, wondering when I last did this for someone else.
Normally over the weekend my submissive would take care of all domestic tasks.
Not today, Grey, because she’s not your submissive…yet.
I pour us both orange juice and put the coffee on. She doesn’t drink coffee, only tea. “Would you like some tea?”
“Yes, please. If you have some.”
In the cupboard I find the Twinings teabags I’d asked Gail to buy.
Well, well, who would have thought I’d ever get to use them?
She frowns when she sees them. “Bit of a foregone conclusion, wasn’t I?”
“Are you? I’m not sure we’ve concluded anything yet, Miss Steele,” I answer with a stern look.
And don’t talk about yourself like that.
I add her self-deprecation to the list of behaviors that will need modifying.
She avoids my gaze, busy with serving up breakfast. Two plates are placed on the placemats, then she fetches the maple syrup out of the fridge.
When she looks up at me I’m waiting for her to sit down. “Miss Steele.” I indicate where she should sit.
“Mr. Grey,” she replies, with contrived formality, and winces as she sits.
“Just how sore are you?” I’m surprised by an uneasy sense of guilt. I want to fuck her again, preferably after breakfast, but if she’s too sore that will be out of the question. Perhaps I could use her mouth this time.
The color in her face rises. “Well, to be truthful, I have nothing to compare this to,” she says tartly. “Did you wish to offer your commiserations?” Her sarcastic tone takes me by surprise. If she were mine, it would earn her a spanking at least, maybe over the kitchen counter.
“No. I wondered if we should continue your basic training.”
“Oh.” She startles.
Yes, Ana, we can have sex during the day, too. And I’d like to fill that smart mouth of yours.
I take a bite of my breakfast and close my eyes in appreciation. It tastes mighty fine. When I swallow she’s still staring at me. “Eat, Anastasia,” I order. “This is delicious, incidentally.”
She can cook, and well.
Ana takes one bite of her food, then pushes her breakfast around on her plate. I ask her to stop biting her lip. “It’s very distracting, and I happen to know you’re not wearing anything under my shirt.”
She fidgets with her teabag and the teapot, ignoring my irritation. “What sort of basic training did you have in mind?” she asks.
She’s ever-curious-let’s see how far she’ll go.
“Well, as you’re sore, I thought we could stick to oral skills.”
She splutters into her teacup.
Hell. I don’t want to choke the girl. Gently, I pat her on the back and hand her a glass of orange juice. “That’s if you want to stay.” I shouldn’t push my luck.
“I’d like to stay for today. If that’s okay. I have to work tomorrow.”
“What time do you have to be at work tomorrow?”
“I’ll get you to work by nine tomorrow.”
What? I want her to stay?
It’s a surprise to me.
Yes, I want her to stay.
“I’ll need to go home tonight-I need clean clothes.”
“We can get you some here.”
She flips her hair and gnaws nervously at her lip…again.
“What is it?” I ask.
“I need to be home this evening.”
Boy, she’s stubborn. I don’t want her to go, but at this stage, with no agreement, I can’t insist that she stay. “Okay, this evening. Now eat your breakfast.”
She examines her food.
“Eat, Anastasia. You didn’t eat last night.”
“I’m really not hungry,” she says.
Well, this is frustrating. “I would really like you to finish your breakfast.” My voice is low.
“What is it with you and food?” she snaps.
Oh, baby, you really don’t want to know. “I told you, I have issues with wasted food. Eat.” I glare at her. Don’t push me on this, Ana. She gives me a mulish look and starts to eat.
As I watch her place a forkful of eggs in her mouth, I relax. She’s quite challenging in her own way. And it’s unique. I’ve never dealt with this. Yes. That’s it. She’s a novelty. That’s the fascination…isn’t it?
When she finishes her food I take her plate.
“You cooked, I’ll clear.”
“That’s very democratic,” she says, arching an eyebrow.
“Yes. Not my usual style. After I’ve done this, we’ll take a bath.”
And I can test her oral skills. I take a swift breath to control my instant arousal at the thought.
Her phone rings and she wanders to the end of the room, deep in conversation. I pause by the sink and watch her. As she stands against the glass wall, the morning light silhouettes her body in my white shirt. My mouth dries. She’s slim, with long legs, perfect breasts, and a perfect ass.
Still on her call, she turns toward me and I pretend my attention is elsewhere. For some reason I don’t want her to catch me ogling.
Who is it on the phone?
I hear Kavanagh’s name mentioned and I tense. What is she saying? Our eyes lock.
What are you saying, Ana?
She turns away and a moment later hangs up, then walks back toward me, her hips swaying in a soft, seductive rhythm beneath my shirt. Should I tell her what I can see?
“The NDA, does it cover everything?” she asks, halting me in my tracks as I shut the pantry cupboard.
“Why?” Where’s she going with this? What has she said to Kavanagh?
She takes a deep breath. “Well, I have a few questions, you know, about sex. And I’d like to ask Kate.”
“You can ask me.”
“Christian, with all due respect-” She stops.
“It’s just about mechanics. I won’t mention the Red Room of Pain,” she says in a rush.
“Red Room of Pain?”
What the hell?
“It’s mostly about pleasure, Anastasia. Believe me. Besides, your roommate is making the beast with two backs with my brother. I’d really rather you didn’t.”
I don’t want Elliot to know anything about my sex life. He’d never let me live it down.
“Does your family know about your…um, predilection?”
“No. It’s none of their business.”
She’s burning to ask something.
“What do you want to know?” I ask, standing in front of her, scrutinizing her face.
What is it, Ana?
“Nothing specific at the moment,” she whispers.
“Well, we can start with: how was last night for you?” My breathing shallows as I wait for her answer. Our whole deal could hang on her response.
“Good,” she says, and gives me a soft, sexy smile.
It’s what I want to hear.
“For me, too. I’ve never had vanilla sex before. There’s a lot to be said for it. But then, maybe it’s because it’s with you.”
Her surprise and pleasure at my words are obvious. I brush her plump lower lip with my thumb. I’m itching to touch her…again. “Come, let’s have a bath.” I kiss her and take her into my bathroom.
“Stay there,” I order, turning the faucet, then adding scented oil to the steaming water. The tub fills quickly as she watches me. Normally, I would expect any woman I was about to bathe with to have her eyes cast down in modesty.
But not Ana.
She doesn’t drop her gaze, and her eyes glow with anticipation and curiosity. But she has her arms wrapped around herself; she’s shy.
And to think she’s never bathed with a man.
I can claim another first.
When the bath is full I peel off my T-shirt and hold out my hand. “Miss Steele.”
She accepts my invitation and steps into the bath.
“Turn around, face me,” I instruct. “I know that lip is delicious, I can attest to that, but will you stop biting it? Your chewing it makes me want to fuck you, and you’re sore, okay?”
She inhales sharply, releasing her lip.
“Yeah. Get the picture?”
Still standing, she gives me an emphatic nod.
“Good.” She’s still wearing my shirt and I take the iPod from the breast pocket and place it by the sink. “Water and iPods-not a clever combination.” I grab the hem and pull it off her. Immediately she hangs her head when I step back to admire her.
“Hey.” My voice is gentle and encourages her to peek up at me. “Anastasia, you’re a very beautiful woman, the whole package. Don’t hang your head like you’re ashamed. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s a real joy to stand here and look at you.” Holding her chin, I tip her head back.
Don’t hide from me, baby.
“You can sit down now.”
She sits down with indecent haste and winces as her sore body hits the water.
She screws her eyes shut as she lies back, but when she opens them, she looks more relaxed. “Why don’t you join me?” she asks with a coy smile.
“I think I will. Move forward.” Stripping, I climb in behind her, pull her to my chest, and place my legs around hers, my feet over her ankles, and then I pull her legs apart.
She wriggles against me, but I ignore her motion and bury my nose in her hair. “You smell so good, Anastasia,” I whisper.
She settles and I grab the body wash from the shelf beside us. Squeezing some into my hand, I work the soap into a lather and start massaging her neck and shoulders. She moans as her head lolls to one side under my tender ministration.
“You like that?” I ask.
“Hmm,” she hums in contentment.
I wash her arms and her underarms, then reach my first goal: her breasts.
Lord, the feel of her.
She has perfect breasts. I knead and tease them. She groans and flexes her hips and her breathing accelerates. She’s aroused. My body responds in kind, growing beneath her.
My hands skim over her torso and her belly toward my second goal. Before I reach her pubic hair I stop and grab a washcloth. Squirting some soap onto the cloth, I begin the slow process of washing between her legs. Gentle, slow but sure, rubbing, washing, cleaning, stimulating. She starts to pant and her hips move in synchronization with my hand. Her head resting against my shoulder, her eyes closed, her mouth open in a silent moan as she surrenders to my relentless fingers.
“Feel it, baby.” I run my teeth along her earlobe. “Feel it for me.”
“Oh, please,” she whines, and she tries to straighten her legs, but I have them pinioned under mine.
Now that she’s all worked up into a lather I’m ready to proceed.
“I think you’re clean enough now,” I announce, and take my hands off of her.
“Why are you stopping?” she protests, her eyes fluttering open, revealing frustration and disappointment.
“Because I have other plans for you, Anastasia.”
She’s panting and, if I’m not mistaken, pouting.
“Turn around. I need washing, too.”
She does, her face rosy, her eyes bright, pupils large.
Lifting my hips, I grab my cock. “I want you to become well acquainted, on first-name terms, if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I’m very attached to this.”
Her mouth drops open as she looks from my penis to my face…and back again. I can’t help my wicked grin. Her face is a picture of maidenly outrage.
But as she stares, her expression changes. First thoughtful, then assessing, and when her eyes meet mine, the challenge in them is clear.
Oh, bring it on, Miss Steele.
Her smile is one of delight as she reaches for the body wash. Taking her sweet time, she drizzles some of the soap into her palm and, without taking her eyes off mine, rubs her hands together. Her lips part and she bites her bottom lip, running her tongue across the little indentations left by her teeth.
Ana Steele, seductress!
My cock responds in appreciation, hardening further. Reaching forward, she grabs me, her hand fisting around me. My breath hisses out through clenched teeth and I close my eyes, savoring the moment.
Here, I don’t mind being touched.
No, I don’t mind at all…Placing my hand over hers, I show her what to do. “Like this.” My voice is hoarse as I guide her. She tightens her hold around me and her hand moves up and down beneath mine.
“That’s right, baby.”
I release her and let her continue, closing my eyes and surrendering to the rhythm she’s set.
What is it about her inexperience that is so arousing? Is it that I’m enjoying all her firsts?
Suddenly she draws me into her mouth, sucking hard, her tongue torturing me.
She sucks harder; her eyes are alight with feminine cunning. This is her revenge, her tit for tat. She looks stunning.
“Christ,” I growl, and close my eyes so I don’t come immediately. She continues her sweet torture, and as her confidence grows I flex my hips, pushing myself farther into her mouth.
How far can I go, baby?
Watching her is stimulating, so stimulating. I grab her hair and start to work her mouth as she supports herself with her hands on my thighs.
“Oh. Baby. That. Feels. Good.”
She confines her teeth behind her lips and pulls me into her mouth once more.
“Ah!” I groan, and wonder how deep she’ll allow me. Her mouth torments me, her shielded teeth squeezing hard. And I want more. “Jesus. How far can you go?”
Her eyes meet mine and she frowns. Then, with a look of determination, she slides down on me until I hit the back of her throat.
“Anastasia, I’m going to come in your mouth,” I warn her, breathless. “If you don’t want me to, stop now.” I thrust into her again and again, watching my cock disappear and reappear from her mouth. It’s beyond erotic. I’m so close. Suddenly she bares her teeth, gently squeezing me, and I’m undone, ejaculating into the back of her throat, crying out my pleasure.
My breathing is labored. She’s completely disarmed me…again!
When I open my eyes she’s glowing with pride.
As she should be. That was one hell of a blow job.
“Don’t you have a gag reflex?” I marvel at her as I catch my breath. “Christ, Ana…that was…good, really good. Unexpected, though. You know, you never cease to amaze me.” Praise for a job well done.
Wait, that was so good, perhaps she has some experience after all. “Have you done that before?” I ask, and I’m not sure I want to know.
“No,” she says with obvious pride.
“Good.” I hope my relief is not too obvious. “Yet another first, Miss Steele. Well, you get an A in oral skills. Come, let’s go to bed, I owe you an orgasm.”
I climb out of the bath a little dazed and wrap a towel around my waist. Grabbing another, I hold it up and help her out of the bath, swathing her in it so she’s trapped. I hold her against me, kissing her, really kissing her. Exploring her mouth with my tongue.
I taste my ejaculate in her mouth. Grasping her head, I deepen the kiss.
I want her.
All of her.
Her body and soul.
I want her to be mine.
Staring down into bemused eyes, I implore her. “Say yes.”
“To what?” she whispers.
“Yes to our arrangement. To being mine. Please, Ana.” And it’s the closest I’ve come to begging in a long time. I kiss her again, pouring my fervor into my kiss. When I take her hand, she looks dazed.
Dazzle her further, Grey.
In my bedroom, I release her. “Trust me?” I ask.
Good. Beautiful. Girl.
I head into my closet to select one of my ties. When I’m back in front of her, I take her towel and drop it on the floor. “Hold your hands together in front of you.”
She licks her lips in what I think is a moment of uncertainty, then holds out her hands. Swiftly I bind her wrists together with the tie. I test the knot. Yes. It’s secure.
Time for more training, Miss Steele.
Her lips part as she inhales…she’s excited.
Gently I tug both her braids. “You look so young with these.” But they’re not going to stop me. I drop my towel. “Oh, Anastasia, what shall I do to you?” I grasp her upper arms and push her gently back on the bed, keeping hold of her so that she doesn’t fall. Once she’s prostrate, I lie down beside her, grab her fists, and raise them above her head. “Keep your hands up here, don’t move them. Understand?”
“I won’t move my hands,” she says, her voice husky.
“Good girl.” I can’t help my smile. She lies beside me, wrists bound, helpless. Mine.
Not quite to do with as I wish-yet-but getting there.
Leaning down, I kiss her lightly and let her know that I’ll kiss her all over.
She sighs as my lips move from the base of her ear down to the hollow at the bottom of her neck. I’m rewarded with her appreciative moan. Abruptly she lowers her arms so that they circle my neck.
No. No. No. This will not do, Miss Steele.
Glaring down at her, I place them firmly back above her head. “Don’t move your hands, or we just have to start all over again.”
“I want to touch you,” she whispers.
“I know.” But you can’t. “Keep your hands above your head.”
Her lips are parted and her chest is heaving with each rapid breath. She’s turned on.
Cupping her chin, I start kissing my way down her body. My hand travels over her breasts, my lips in hot pursuit. With one hand on her belly, holding her in place, I pay homage to each of her nipples, sucking and nipping gently, delighting in their hardening response.
She mewls and her hips start to move.
“Keep still,” I warn against her skin. I plant kisses across her belly, where my tongue explores the taste and depth of her navel.
“Ah,” she moans and squirms.
I will have to teach her to keep still…
My teeth graze her skin. “Hmm. You are so sweet, Miss Steele.” I gently nip between her navel and pubic hair, then sit up between her legs. Grabbing both her ankles, I spread her legs wide. Like this, naked, vulnerable, she is a glorious sight to behold. Holding her left foot, I bend her knee and raise her toes to my lips, watching her face as I do. I kiss each toe, then bite the soft pad on each.
Her eyes are wide and her mouth is open, moving alternately from a small to a capital O. When I bite the pad on her little toe a little harder, her pelvis flexes and she whimpers. I run my tongue over her instep to her ankle. She scrunches her eyes closed, her head twisting from side to side, as I continue to torment her.
“Oh, please,” she begs when I suck and bite her little toe.
“All good things, Miss Steele,” I tease.
When I get to her knee, I don’t stop but continue, licking, sucking, and biting up the inside of her thigh, spreading her legs wide as I do.
She trembles, in shock, anticipating my tongue at the apex of her thighs.
Oh no…not yet, Miss Steele.
I return my attentions to her left leg, kissing and nipping from her knee up the inside of her thigh.
She tenses when I finally lie between her legs. But she keeps her arms raised.
Gently, I run my nose up and down her vulva.
She writhes beneath me.
I stop. She has to learn to keep still.
She raises her head to look at me.
“Do you know how intoxicating you smell, Miss Steele?” Holding her stare with my own, I push my nose into her pubic hair and breathe deeply. Her head flops back in the bed and she groans.
I blow gently up and down over her pubic hair. “I like this,” I mutter. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen pubic hair up close and personal like this. I tug it gently. “Perhaps we’ll keep this.”
Though it’s no good for wax play…
“Oh, please,” she pleads.
“Hmm, I like it when you beg me, Anastasia.”
“Tit for tat is not my usual style, Miss Steele,” I whisper against her flesh. “But you’ve pleased me today, and you should be rewarded.” And I hold down her thighs, opening her up to my tongue, and slowly start circling her clitoris.
She cries out, her body rising off the bed.
But I don’t stop. My tongue is ruthless. Her legs stiffen, her toes pointed.
Ah, she’s close, and slowly I slip my middle finger inside her.
Wet and waiting.
“Oh, baby. I love that you’re so wet for me.” I start to move my finger clockwise, stretching her. My tongue continues to torment her clitoris, over and over. She stiffens beneath me and finally cries out as her orgasm crashes through her.
I kneel up and grab a condom. Once it’s on, slowly I ease myself into her.
Fuck, she feels good.
“How’s this?” I check.
“Fine. Good.” Her voice is hoarse.
Oh…I start to move, reveling in the feel of her around me, beneath me. Again and again, faster and faster, losing myself in this woman. I want her to come again.
I want her sated.
I want her happy.
Finally, she stiffens once more and whimpers.
“Come for me, baby,” I utter through clenched teeth, and she detonates around me.
“Thank fuck,” I cry, and let go, finding my own sweet release. Briefly I collapse on her, glorying in her softness. She moves her hands so they are around my neck, but because she’s tied she can’t touch me.
Taking a deep breath, I rest my weight on my arms and stare down at her in wonder.
“See how good we are together? If you give yourself to me, it will be so much better. Trust me, Anastasia, I can take you places you don’t even know exist.” Our foreheads touch and I close my eyes.
Please say yes.
We hear voices outside the door.
What the hell?
It’s Taylor and Grace.
“Shit! It’s my mother.”
Ana cringes as I pull out of her.
Leaping out of bed, I throw the condom in the wastepaper basket.
What the hell is my mother doing here?
Taylor has diverted her, thank heaven. Well, she’s about to get a surprise.
Ana is still prostrate on the bed. “Come on, we need to get dressed-that’s if you want to meet my mother.” I smile at Ana as I pull on my jeans. She looks adorable.
“Christian-I can’t move,” she protests, but she’s grinning, too.
Leaning down, I undo the tie and kiss her forehead.
My mother is going to be thrilled.
“Another first,” I whisper, unable to shift my grin.
“I have no clean clothes in here.”
I slip on a white T-shirt, and when I turn around she’s sitting up, hugging her knees. “Perhaps I should stay here.”
“Oh no you don’t,” I warn. “You can wear something of mine.”
I like her wearing my clothes.
Her face falls.
“Anastasia, you could be wearing a sack and you’d look lovely. Please don’t worry. I’d like you to meet my mother. Get dressed. I’ll just go and calm her down. I’ll expect you in that room in five minutes, otherwise I’ll come and drag you out of here myself in whatever you’re wearing. My T-shirts are in this drawer. My shirts are in the closet. Help yourself.”
Her eyes widen.
Yes. I’m serious, baby.
Cautioning her with a pointed look, I open the door and exit to find my mother.
Grace is standing in the corridor opposite the foyer door, and Taylor is talking to her. Her face lights up when she sees me. “Darling, I had no idea you might have company,” she exclaims, and she looks a little embarrassed.
“Hello, Mother.” I kiss her proffered cheek. “I’ll deal with her from here,” I say to Taylor.
“Yes, Mr. Grey.” He nods, looking exasperated, and heads back into his office.
“Thank you, Taylor,” Grace calls after him, then turns her full attention to me. “Deal with me?” she says in rebuke. “I was shopping downtown and I thought I might pop in for coffee.” She stops. “If I’d known you weren’t alone…” She shrugs in an awkward, girlish way.
She has often stopped by for coffee and there was a woman here…she just never knew.
“She’ll join us in a moment,” I admit, putting her out of her misery. “Do you want to sit down?” I wave in the direction of the sofa.
“Yes, Mother. She.” My tone is dry as I try not to laugh. And for once she’s silent as she wanders through the living room.
“I see you’ve had breakfast,” she observes, eyeing the unwashed pans.
“Would you like some coffee?”
“No. Thank you, darling.” She sits down. “I’ll meet your…friend and then I’ll go. I don’t want to interrupt you. I had a feeling that you’d be slaving away in your study. You work too hard, darling. I thought I might drag you away.” She looks almost apologetic when I join her on the sofa.
“Don’t worry.” I’m thoroughly amused by her reaction. “Why aren’t you at church this morning?”
“Carrick had to work, so we thought we’d go to evening Mass. I suppose it’s too much to hope that you’ll come with us.”
I raise an eyebrow in cynical contempt. “Mother, you know that’s not for me.”
God and I turned our backs on each other a long time ago.
She sighs, but then Ana appears-dressed in her own clothes, standing shyly in the doorway. The tension between mother and son is averted, and I stand in relief. “Here she is.”
Grace turns and gets to her feet.
“Mother, this is Anastasia Steele. Anastasia, this is Grace Trevelyan-Grey.”
They shake hands.
“What a pleasure to meet you,” Grace says with a little too much enthusiasm for my liking.
“Dr. Trevelyan-Grey,” Ana says politely.
“Call me Grace,” she says, all at once amiable and informal.
Grace continues, “I’m usually Dr. Trevelyan, and Mrs. Grey is my mother-in-law.” She winks at Ana and sits down. I motion to Ana and pat the cushion beside me, and she comes and takes a seat.
“So how did you two meet?” Grace asks.
“Anastasia interviewed me for the student paper at WSU because I’m conferring the degrees there this week.”
“So you’re graduating this week?” Grace beams at Ana.
Ana’s cell phone starts ringing and she excuses herself to answer it.
“And I’ll be giving the commencement address,” I say to Grace, but my attention is on Ana.
Who is it?
“Look, José, now’s not a good time,” I hear her say.
That fucking photographer. What does he want?
“I left a message for Elliot, then found out he was in Portland. I haven’t seen him since last week,” Grace is saying.
Ana hangs up.
Grace continues as Ana approaches us again, “…and Elliot called to say you were around-I haven’t seen you for two weeks, darling.”
“Did he now?” I remark.
What does the photographer want?
“I thought we might have lunch together, but I can see you have other plans, and I don’t want to interrupt your day.” Grace stands, and for once I’m grateful that she’s intuitive and can read a situation. She offers me her cheek again. I kiss her good-bye.
“I have to drive Anastasia back to Portland.”
“Of course, darling.” Grace turns her bright-and if I’m not mistaken, grateful-smile on Ana.
“Anastasia, it’s been such a pleasure.” Grace beams and takes Ana’s hand. “I do hope we meet again.”
“Mrs. Grey?” Taylor appears on the threshold of the room.
“Thank you, Taylor,” Grace responds, and he escorts her from the room and through the double doors to the foyer.
Well, that was interesting.
My mother’s always thought I was gay. But as she’s always respected my boundaries, she’s never asked me.
Well, now she knows.
Ana is worrying her bottom lip, radiating anxiety…as she should be.
“So the photographer called?” I sound gruff.
“What did he want?”
“Just to apologize, you know-for Friday.”
“I see.” Maybe he wants another shot at her. The thought is displeasing.
Taylor clears his throat. “Mr. Grey, there’s an issue with the Darfur shipment.”
Shit. This is what I get for not checking my e-mail this morning. I’ve been too preoccupied with Ana.
“Charlie Tango back at Boeing Field?” I ask Taylor.
Taylor acknowledges Ana with a nod. “Miss Steele.”
She gives him a broad smile and he leaves.
“Does he live here? Taylor?” Ana asks.
Heading into the kitchen, I pick up my phone and quickly check my e-mail. There’s a flagged message from Ros and a couple of texts. I call her immediately.
“Ros, what’s the issue?”
“Christian, hi. The report back from Darfur is not good. They can’t guarantee the safety of the shipments or road crew, and the State Department isn’t willing to sanction the relief without the NGO’s backing.”
“I’m not having either crew put at risk.” Ros knows this.
“We could try and pull in mercenaries,” she says.
“But the cost,” she protests.
“We’ll air-drop instead.”
“I knew that’s what you’d say, Christian. I have a plan in the works. It will be costly. In the meantime, the containers can go to Rotterdam out of Philly and we can take it from there. That’s it.”
“Good.” I hang up. More support from the State Department would be helpful. I resolve to call Blandino to discuss this further.
My attention reverts to Miss Steele, who’s standing in my living room, regarding me warily. I need to get us back on track.
Yes. The contract. That’s the next step in our negotiation.
In my study, I gather the papers that are on my desk and stuff them into a manila envelope.
Ana’s not moved from where I left her in the living room. Perhaps she’s been thinking about the photographer…my mood takes a nosedive.
“This is the contract.” I hold up the envelope. “Read it, and we’ll discuss it next weekend. May I suggest you do some research, so you know what’s involved?” She looks from the manila envelope to me, her face pale. “That’s if you agree, and I really hope you do,” I add.
“You’ll be amazed what you can find on the Internet.”
“What is it?” I ask.
“I don’t have a computer. I usually use the computers at school. I’ll see if I can use Kate’s laptop.”
No computer? How can a student not have a computer? Is she that broke? I hand her the envelope. “I’m sure I can, um-lend you one. Get your things, we’ll drive back to Portland and grab some lunch on the way. I need to dress.”
“I’ll just make a call,” she says, her voice soft and hesitant.
“The photographer?” I snap. She looks guilty.
What the hell? “I don’t like to share, Miss Steele. Remember that.” I storm out of the room before I say anything else.
Is she hung up on him?
Was she just using me to break her in?
Maybe it’s the money. That’s a depressing thought…though she doesn’t strike me as a gold digger. She was quite vehement about me not buying her any clothing. I remove my jeans and put on a pair of boxer briefs. My Brioni tie is on the floor. I stoop to pick it up.
She took to being tied up well…There’s hope, Grey. Hope.
I stuff the tie and two others into a messenger bag along with socks, underwear, and condoms.
What am I doing?
Deep down I know I’m going to stay at The Heathman all next week…to be near her. I gather a couple of suits and shirts that Taylor can bring down later in the week. I’ll need one for the graduation ceremony.
I slip on some clean jeans and grab a leather jacket, and my phone buzzes. It’s a text from Elliot.
I’m driving back today in your car.
Hope that doesn’t screw up your plans.
I text back.
No. I’m coming back to Portland now.
Let Taylor know when you arrive.
I buzz Taylor through the internal phone system.
“Elliot is bringing the SUV back sometime this afternoon. Bring it down to Portland tomorrow. I’m going to stay at The Heathman until the graduation ceremony. I’ve left some clothes that I’d like you to bring down as well.”
“And call Audi. I may need the A3 sooner than I thought.”
“It’s ready, Mr. Grey.”
“Oh. Good. Thanks.”
So that’s the car taken care of; now it’s the computer. I call Barney, assuming he’ll be in his office, and knowing he’ll have a state-of-the-art laptop lying around.
“Mr. Grey?” he answers.
“What are you doing in the office, Barney? It’s Sunday.”
“I’m working on the tablet design. The solar-cell issue is bugging me.”
“You need a home life.”
Barney has the grace to laugh. “What can I do for you, Mr. Grey?”
“Do you have any new laptops?”
“I have two right here from Apple.”
“Great. I need one.”
“Can you set it up with an e-mail account for Anastasia Steele? She’ll be the owner.”
“How are you spelling ‘Steal’?”
“Great. Andrea will be in touch today to arrange delivery.”
“Sure thing, sir.”
“Thanks, Barney-and go home.”
I text Andrea with instructions to send the laptop to Ana’s home address, then return to the living room. Ana is sitting on the sofa, fidgeting with her fingers. She gives me a cautious look and rises.
“Ready?” I ask.
Taylor appears from his office. “Tomorrow, then,” I tell him.
“Yes, sir. Which car are you taking, sir?”
“Safe trip, Mr. Grey. Miss Steele,” Taylor says, as he opens the foyer doors for us. Ana fidgets beside me as we wait for the elevator, her teeth on her plump lower lip.
It reminds me of her teeth on my cock.
“What is it, Anastasia?” I ask, as I reach out and pluck her chin. “Stop biting your lip, or I will fuck you in the elevator, and I don’t care who gets in with us,” I growl.
She’s shocked, I think-though why would she be after all we’ve done…My mood softens.
“Christian, I have a problem,” she says.
In the elevator I press the button for the garage.
“W-Well,” she stutters, uncertain. Then she squares her shoulders. “I need to talk to Kate. I’ve so many questions about sex, and you’re too involved. If you want me to do all these things, how do I know-?” She stops, as if weighing her words. “I just don’t have any terms of reference.”
Not this again. We’ve been over this. I don’t want her talking to anyone. She’s signed an NDA. But she’s asked, again. So it must be important to her. “Talk to her if you must. Make sure she doesn’t mention anything to Elliot.”
“She wouldn’t do that, and I wouldn’t tell you anything she tells me about Elliot-if she were to tell me anything,” she insists.
I remind her that I’m not interested in Elliot’s sex life but agree that she can talk about what we’ve done so far. Her roommate would have my balls if she knew my real intentions.
“Okay,” Ana says, and gives me a bright smile.
“The sooner I have your submission the better, and we can stop all this.”
“Stop all what?”
“You, defying me.” I kiss her quickly and her lips on mine immediately make me feel better.
“Nice car,” she says, as we approach the R8 in the underground garage.
“I know.” I flash her a quick grin, and I’m rewarded with another smile-before she rolls her eyes. I open the door for her, wondering if I should comment about the eye rolling.
“So what sort of car is this?” she asks, when I’m behind the wheel.
“It’s an Audi R8 Spyder. It’s a lovely day; we can take the top down. There’s a baseball cap in there. In fact there should be two.”
I start the ignition and retract the roof, and the Boss fills the car. “Gotta love Bruce.” I grin at Ana and steer the R8 out of her safe place in the garage.
Weaving in and out of the traffic on I-5, we head toward Portland. Ana is quiet, listening to the music and staring out the window. It’s difficult to see her expression, behind oversized Wayfarers and under my Mariners cap. The wind whistles over us as we speed past Boeing Field.
So far, this weekend has been unexpected. But what did I expect? I thought we’d have dinner, discuss the contract, and then what…? Perhaps fucking her was inevitable.
I glance across at her.
Yes…And I want to fuck her again.
I wish I knew what she was thinking. She gives little away, but I’ve learned some things about Ana. In spite of her inexperience, she’s willing to learn. Who would have thought that under that shy exterior she has the soul of a siren? An image of her lips around my dick comes to mind and I suppress a moan.
Yeah…she’s more than willing.
The thought is arousing.
I hope I can see her before next weekend.
Even now I’m itching to touch her again. Reaching across, I put my hand on her knee.
“Not particularly,” she responds, subdued.
This is getting old.
“You must eat, Anastasia. I know a great place near Olympia. We’ll stop there.”
CUISINE SAUVAGE IS SMALL, and crowded with couples and families enjoying Sunday brunch. With Ana’s hand in mine, we follow the hostess to our table. The last time I came here was with Elena. I wonder what she’d make of Anastasia.
“I’ve not been here for a while. We don’t get a choice-they cook whatever they’ve caught or gathered,” I say, grimacing, feigning my horror. Ana laughs.
Why do I feel ten feet tall when I make her laugh?
“Two glasses of the pinot grigio,” I order from the waitress, who’s making eyes at me from beneath blond bangs. It’s annoying.
“What?” I ask, wondering if the waitress is annoying her, too.
“I wanted a Diet Coke.”
Why didn’t you say so? I frown. “The pinot grigio here is a decent wine. It will go well with the meal, whatever we get.”
“Whatever we get?” she asks, her eyes round with alarm.
“Yes.” And I give her my megawatt smile to make amends for not letting her order her own drink. I’m just not used to asking…”My mother liked you,” I add, hoping this will please her and remembering Grace’s reaction to Ana.
“Really?” she says, looking flattered.
“Oh yes. She’s always thought I was gay.”
“Because she’s never seen me with a girl.”
“Oh, not even one of the fifteen?”
“You remembered. No, none of the fifteen.”
Yes…only you, baby. The thought is unsettling.
“You know, Anastasia, it’s been a weekend of firsts for me, too.”
“I’ve never slept with anyone, never had sex in my bed, never flown a girl in Charlie Tango, never introduced a woman to my mother. What are you doing to me?”
Yeah. What the hell are you doing to me? This isn’t me.
The waitress brings us our chilled wine, and Ana immediately takes a quick sip, her bright eyes on me. “I’ve really enjoyed this weekend,” she says, with bashful delight in her voice. I have, too, and I realize I haven’t enjoyed a weekend for a while…since Susannah and I parted ways. I tell her so.
“What’s vanilla sex?” she asks.
I laugh at her unexpected question and complete change of topic.
“Just straightforward sex, Anastasia. No toys, no add-ons.” I shrug. “You know-well, actually you don’t, but that’s what it means.”
“Oh,” she says, and she looks a little crestfallen.
The waitress diverts us, putting down two soup bowls full of greenery. “Nettle soup,” she announces, and struts back into the kitchen. We glance at each other, then back at the soup. A quick taste informs us both that it’s delicious. Ana giggles at my exaggerated expression of relief.
“That’s a lovely sound,” I say softly.
“Why have you never had vanilla sex before? Have you always done, what you’ve done?” She’s as inquisitive as ever.
“Sort of.” And then I wonder if I should expand on this. More than anything, I want her to be forthcoming with me; I want her to trust me. I’m never this candid, but I think I can trust her so I choose my words carefully.
“One of my mother’s friends seduced me when I was fifteen.”
“Oh.” Ana’s spoon pauses midway from the bowl to her mouth.
“She had very particular tastes. I was her submissive for six years.”
“Oh,” she breathes.
“So I do know what it involves, Anastasia.” More than you know. “I didn’t really have a run-of-the-mill introduction to sex.” I couldn’t be touched. I still can’t.
I wait for her reaction but she continues with her soup, mulling over this tidbit of information. “So you never dated anyone in college?” she asks, when she’s finished her last spoonful.
The waitress interrupts us to clear our empty bowls. Ana waits for her to leave. “Why?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I didn’t want to. She was all I wanted, needed. And besides, she’d have beaten the shit out of me.”
She blinks a couple of times as she absorbs this news. “So if she was a friend of your mother’s, how old was she?”
“Old enough to know better.”
“Do you still see her?” She sounds shocked.
“Do you still…er-” She blushes crimson, her mouth turned down.
“No,” I say quickly. I don’t want her to have the wrong idea about my relationship with Elena. “She’s a very good friend,” I reassure her.
“Oh. Does your mother know?”
“Of course not.”
My mother would kill me-and Elena, too.
The waitress returns with the main entrée: venison. Ana takes a long sip of her wine. “But it can’t have been full-time?” She’s ignoring her food.
“Well, it was, though I didn’t see her all the time. It was…difficult. After all, I was still at school and then at college. Eat up, Anastasia.”
“I’m really not hungry, Christian,” she says.
I narrow my eyes. “Eat.” I keep my voice low, as I try to check my temper.
“Give me a moment,” she says, her tone as quiet as mine.
What’s her problem? Elena?
“Okay,” I agree, wondering if I’ve told her too much, and I take a bite of my venison.
Finally, she picks up her cutlery and starts eating.
“Is this what our, um…relationship will be like?” she asks. “You ordering me around?” She scrutinizes the plate of food in front of her.
“I see.” She tosses her ponytail over her shoulder.
“And what’s more, you’ll want me to.”
“It’s a big step,” she says.
“It is.” I close my eyes. I want to do this with her, now more than ever. What can I say to convince her to give our arrangement a try?
“Anastasia, you have to go with your gut. Do the research, read the contract. I’m happy to discuss any aspect. I’ll be in Portland until Friday if you want to talk about it before then. Call me-maybe we can have dinner-say, Wednesday? I really want to make this work. In fact, I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this.”
Whoa. Big speech, Grey. Did you just ask her on a date?
“What happened to the fifteen?” she asks.
“Various things, but it boils down to incompatibility.”
“And you think that I might be compatible with you?”
I hope so…
“So you’re not seeing any of them anymore?”
“No, Anastasia, I’m not. I am monogamous in my relationships.”
“Do the research, Anastasia.”
She puts her knife and fork down, signaling that she’s finished her meal.
“That’s it? That’s all you’re going to eat?”
She nods, placing her hands in her lap, and her mouth sets in that mulish way she has…and I know it will be a fight to persuade her to clean her plate. No wonder she’s so slim. Her eating issues will be something to work on, if she agrees to be mine. As I continue to eat, her eyes dart to me every few seconds and a slow flush stains her cheeks.
Oh, what’s this?
“I’d give anything to know what you’re thinking right at this moment.” She’s clearly thinking about sex. “I can guess,” I tease.
“I’m glad you can’t read my mind.”
“Your mind, no, Anastasia, but your body-that I’ve gotten to know quite well since yesterday.” I give her a wolfish grin and ask for the check.
When we leave, her hand is firmly in mine. She’s quiet-deep in thought, it seems-and remains so all the way to Vancouver. I’ve given her a great deal to think about.
But she’s also given me a great deal to think about.
Will she want to do this with me?
Damn, I hope so.
It’s still light when we arrive at her home, but the sun is sinking to the horizon and shining pink and pearl light on Mount St. Helens. Ana and Kate live in a scenic spot with an amazing view.
“Do you want to come in?” she asks, after I’ve switched off the engine.
“No. I have work to do.” I know that if I accept her invitation I’ll be crossing a line I’m not prepared to cross. I’m not boyfriend material-and I don’t want to give her any false expectations of the kind of relationship she’ll have with me.
Her face falls and, deflated, she looks away.
She doesn’t want me to go.
It’s humbling. Reaching across, I grasp her hand and kiss her knuckles, hoping to take the sting out of my rejection.
“Thank you for this weekend, Anastasia. It’s been…the best.” She turns shining eyes to me. “Wednesday?” I continue. “I’ll pick you up from work, from wherever?”
“Wednesday,” she says, and the hope in her voice is disconcerting.
Shit. It’s not a date.
I kiss her hand again and climb out of the car to open her door. I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.
When she gets out of the car, she brightens, at odds with how she looked a moment ago. She marches up to her front door but before reaching the steps she turns suddenly. “Oh, by the way, I’m wearing your underwear,” she says in triumph, and she yanks the waistband up so I can see the words “Polo” and “Ralph” peeking over her jeans.
She’s stolen my underwear!
I’m stunned. And in that instant I want nothing more than to see her in my boxer briefs…and only them.
She tosses back her hair and swaggers into her apartment, leaving me standing on the curb, staring like a fool.
Shaking my head, I climb back into the car, and as I start the engine I cannot help my shit-eating grin.
I hope she says yes.
I FINISH MY WORK and take a sip of the fine Sancerre, delivered from room service by the woman with dark, dark eyes. Trawling through my e-mails and answering where required has been a welcome distraction from thoughts of Anastasia. And now I’m pleasantly tired. Is it the five hours of work? Or all the sexual activity last night and this morning? Memories of the delectable Miss Steele invade my mind: in Charlie Tango, in my bed, in my bath, dancing around my kitchen. And to think it all started here on Friday…and now she’s considering my proposal.
Has she read the contract? Is she doing her homework?
I check my phone once again for a text or a missed call but, of course, there’s nothing.
Will she agree?
I hope so…
Andrea has sent me Ana’s new e-mail address and assured me the laptop will be delivered tomorrow morning. With that in mind, I type out an e-mail.
* * *
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your New Computer
Date: May 22 2011 23:15
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele,
I trust you slept well. I hope that you put this laptop to good use, as discussed.
I look forward to dinner Wednesday.
Happy to answer any questions before then, via e-mail, should you so desire.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.
The e-mail doesn’t bounce, so the address is live. I wonder how Ana will react in the morning when she reads it. I hope she likes the laptop. Guess I’ll know tomorrow. Picking up my latest read, I settle onto the sofa. It’s a book by two renowned economists who examine why the poor think and behave the way they do. An image of a young woman brushing out her long, dark hair comes to mind; her hair shines in the light from the cracked, yellowed window, and the air is filled with dancing dust motes. She’s singing softly, like a child.
Don’t go there, Grey.
I open the book and start to read.Fifty Shades Freed Extended Version