Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey CHAPTER 12


CHAPTER 12

For the first time in my life, I voluntarily go for a run. I find my nasty, never-used sneakers, some sweat pants, and a t-shirt. I put my hair in pigtails, blushing at the memories they bring back, and I plug in my iPod. I can’t sit in front of that marvel of technology and look at or read any more disturbing material. I need to expend some of this excess, enervating, energy. Quite frankly, I have a mind to run to the Heathman hotel and just demand sex from the control freak. But that’s five miles, and I don’t think I’ll be able to run one mile, let alone five, and of course, he might turn me down which would be beyond humiliating.
Kate is walking from her car as I head out of the door. She nearly drops her shopping when she sees me. Ana Steele in sneakers. I wave and don’t stop for the inquisition. I need some serious alone time. Snow Patrol blaring in my ears, I set off into the opal and aquamarine dusk.
I pace through the park. What am I going to do? I want him, but on his terms? I just don’t know. Perhaps I should negotiate what I want. Go through that ridiculous contract line by line and say what is acceptable and what isn’t. My research has told me that legally it’s unenforceable. He must know that. I figure that it just sets up the parameters of the relationship. It illustrates what I can expect from him and what he expects from me – my total submission. Am I prepared to give him that? Am I even capable?
I am plagued by one question - why is he like this? Is it because he was seduced at such a young age? I just don’t know. He’s still such a mystery.
I stop beside a large spruce and put my hands on my knees, breathing hard, dragging precious air into my lungs. Oh, this feels good, cathartic. I can feel my resolve hardening. Yes. I need to tell him what’s okay and what isn’t. I need to email him my thoughts, and then we can discuss these on Wednesday. I take a deep cleansing breath, then jog back to the apartment.
Kate has been shopping, as only she can, for clothes for her holiday to Barbados. Mainly bikinis and matching sarongs. She will look fabulous in all of them, yet she still makes me sit and comment while she tries on each and every one. There are only so many ways one can say – you look fabulous Kate. She has a curvy, slim figure to die for. She doesn’t do it on purpose, I know, but I haul my sorry, perspiration clad, old t-shirt, sweat pants, and sneakers ass into my room on the pretext of packing more boxes. Could I feel any more inadequate? Taking the awesome free technology with me, I set the laptop up on my desk. I email Christian.
__________________________________________________________________
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Shocked of WSUV
Date: May 23 2011 20:33
To: Christian Grey
Okay, I’ve seen enough.
It was nice knowing you.
Ana
I press send, hugging myself, laughing at my little joke. Will he find it as funny? Oh shit – probably not. Christian Grey is not famed for his sense of humor. But I know it exists, I’ve experienced it. Perhaps I’ve gone too far. I wait for his answer.
I wait… and wait. I glance at my alarm clock. Ten minutes have passed.
To distract myself from the anxiety that blooms in my belly, I start doing what I told Kate I would be doing – packing up my room. I begin by cramming my books into a crate. By nine, I’ve heard nothing. Perhaps he’s out. I pout petulantly as I plug my iPod ear buds in, listen to Snow Patrol, and sit down at my small desk to re-read the contract and make my comments.
I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye, I don’t know, but when I do, he’s standing in the doorway of my bedroom watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel pants and a white linen shirt, gently twirling his car keys. I pull my ear buds out and freeze. Fuck!
“Good evening, Anastasia.” His voice is cool, his expression completely guarded and unreadable. The capacity to speak deserts me. Damn Kate for letting him in here with no warning. Vaguely, I’m aware that I’m still in my sweats, un-showered, yucky, and he’s just gloriously yummy, his pants doing that hanging from the hips thing, and what’s more, he’s here in my bedroom.
“I felt that your email warranted a reply in person,” he explains dryly.
I open my mouth and then close it again, twice. The joke is on me. Never in this or any alternative universe did I expect him to drop everything and turn up here.
“May I sit?” he asks, his eyes now dancing with humor – thank heavens – maybe he’ll see the funny side?
I nod. The power of speech remains elusive. Christian Grey is sitting on my bed.
“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” he says.
I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no – there’s still only the door or window. My room is functional but cozy – sparse white wicker furniture and a white iron double bed with a patchwork quilt, made by my mother when she was in her folksy American quilting phase. It’s all pale blue and cream.
“It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” he murmurs. Not at the moment… not with you here.
Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose, I breathe.
“How… ?”
He smiles at me.
“I’m still at the Heathman.”
I know that.
“Would you like a drink?” Politeness wins out over everything else I’d like to say.
“No, thank you, Anastasia.” He smiles a dazzling, crooked smile, his head cocked slightly to one side.
Well, I might need one.
“So, it was nice knowing me?”
Holy cow, is he offended? I stare down at my fingers. How am I going to dig myself out of this? If I tell him it was a joke, I don’t think he’ll be impressed.
“I thought you’d reply by email.” My voice is small, pathetic.
“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” he asks darkly.
I blink up at him, gasping, freeing my lip.
“I wasn’t aware I was biting my lip,” I murmur softly.
My heart is pounding. I can feel that pull, that delicious electricity between us charging, filling the space between us with static. He’s sitting so close to me, his eyes dark smoky gray, his elbows resting on his knees, his legs apart. Leaning forward, he slowly undoes one of my pigtails, his fingers freeing my hair. My breathing is shallow, and I cannot move. I watch hypnotized as his hand moves to my second pigtail, and pulling the hair tie, he loosens the braid with his long, skilled fingers.
“So you decided on some exercise,” he breathes, his voice soft and melodious. His fingers gently tuck my hair behind my ear. “Why, Anastasia?” His fingers circle my ear, and very softly, he tugs my earlobe, rhythmically. It’s so sexual.
“I needed time to think,” I whisper. I’m all rabbit/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake… and he knows exactly what he’s doing to me.
“Think about what, Anastasia?”
“You.”
“And you decided that it was nice knowing me? Do you mean knowing me in the biblical sense?”
Oh shit. I flush.
“I didn’t think you were familiar with the Bible.”
“I went to Sunday School, Anastasia. It taught me a great deal.”
“I don’t remember reading about nipple clamps in the Bible. Perhaps you were taught from a modern translation.”
His lips arch with a trace of a smile, and my eyes are drawn to his beautiful sculptured mouth.
“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”
Holy crap. I stare at him open mouthed, and his fingers move from my ear to my chin.
“What do you say to that, Miss Steele?”
His gray eyes blaze at me, his challenge intrinsic in his stare. His lips are parted – he’s waiting, coiled to strike. Desire – acute, liquid and smoldering, combusts deep in my belly. I take pre-emptive action and launch myself at him. Somehow he moves, I have no idea how, and in the blink of an eye I’m on the bed pinned beneath him, my arms stretched out and held above my head, his free hand clutching my face, and his mouth finds mine.
His tongue is in my mouth, claiming and possessing me, and I revel in the force he uses. I feel him against the length of my body. He wants me, and this does strange, delicious things to my insides. Not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen, not evil Mrs. Robinson. Me. This beautiful man wants me. My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland. He stops kissing me, and opening my eyes, I find him gazing down at me.
“Trust me?” he breathes.
I nod, wide-eyed, my heart bouncing off my ribs, my blood thundering around my body.
He reaches down, and from his pants pocket, he takes out his silver grey silk tie… that silver grey woven tie that leaves small impressions of its weave on my skin. He moves so quickly, sitting astride me as he fastens my wrists together, but this time, he ties the other end of the tie to one of the spokes of my white iron headboard. He pulls at my binding checking it’s secure. I’m not going anywhere. I’m tied, literally, to my bed, and I’m so aroused.
He slides off me and stands beside the bed, staring down at me, his eyes dark with want. His look is triumphant, mixed with relief.
“That’s better,” he murmurs and smiles a wicked, knowing smile. He bends and starts undoing one of my sneakers. Oh no… no… my feet. No. I’ve just been running.
“No,” I protest, trying to kick him off.
He stops.
“If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet. Katherine is probably outside listening right now.”
Gag me! Kate! I shut up.
He removes my shoes and my socks efficiently and slowly peels off my sweat pants. Oh – what panties am I wearing? He lifts me and pulls the quilt and my duvet out from underneath me and places me back down, this time on the sheets.
“Now then.” He licks his bottom lip slowly. “You’re biting that lip, Anastasia. You know the effect it has on me.” He places his long index finger over my mouth, a warning.
Oh my. I can barely contain myself, lying helpless, watching him move gracefully around my room, it’s a heady aphrodisiac. Slowly, almost leisurely, he removes his shoes and socks, undoes his pants, and lifts his shirt off over his head.
“I think you’ve seen too much,” he chuckles slyly. He sits astride me again, pulls my t-shirt up, and I think he’s going to take it off me, but he rolls it up to my neck and then pulls it up over my head so he can see my mouth and my nose, but it covers my eyes. And because it’s folded over – I cannot see a thing through it.
“Mmm,” he breathes appreciatively. “This just gets better and better. I’m going to get a drink.”
Leaning down, he kisses me, his lips tender against mine, and his weight shifts off the bed. I hear the quiet creak of the bedroom door. Get a drink. Where? Here? Portland? Seattle? I strain to hear him. I can make out low rumblings, and I know he’s talking to Kate – oh no… he’s practically naked. What’s she going to say? I hear a faint popping sound. What’s that? He returns, the door creaking once more, his feet padding across the bedroom floor, and ice tinkling against glass as it swirls in liquid. What kind of drink? He shuts the door and shuffles around removing his pants. They drop to the floor, and I know he’s naked. He sits astride me again.
“Are you thirsty, Anastasia?” he asks, his voice teasing
“Yes,” I breathe, because my mouth is suddenly parched. I hear the ice clink against the glass, and he puts it down again and leans down and kisses me, pouring a delicious crisp, liquid into my mouth as he does. It’s white wine. It’s so unexpected, hot, though it’s chilled, and Christian’s lips are cool.
“More?” he whispers.
I nod. It tastes all the more divine because it’s been in his mouth. He leans down, and I drink another mouthful from his lips… oh my.
“Let’s not go too far, we know your capacity for alcohol is limited, Anastasia.”
I can’t help it. I grin, and he leans down to deliver another delicious mouthful. He shifts so he’s lying beside me, his erection at my hip. Oh, I want him inside me.
“Is this nice?” he asks, but I hear the edge in his voice.
I tense. He moves the glass again and leans down, kissing me and depositing a small shard of ice in my mouth with a little wine. He slowly and leisurely trails chilled kisses down the center of my body, from the base of my throat, between my breasts, down my torso, and to my belly. He pops a fragment of ice in my navel in a pool of cool, cold wine. It burns all the way down to the depths of my belly. Wow.
“Now you have to keep still,” he whispers. “If you move, Anastasia, you’ll get wine all over the bed.”
My hips flex automatically.
“Oh no. If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele.”
I groan and desperately fight the urge to tilt my hips, pulling on my restraint. Oh no… please.
With one finger, he pulls down my bra cups in turn, my breasts pushed up, exposed and vulnerable. Leaning down, he kisses and tugs at each of my nipples in turn with cool, cold lips. I fight my body as it tries to arch in response.
“How nice is this?” he breathes, blowing on one of my nipples.
I hear another clink of ice, and then I can feel it round my right nipple as he tugs the left one with his lips. I moan, struggling not to move. It’s sweet, agonizing torture.
“If you spill the wine, I won’t let you come,”
“Oh… please… Christian… Sir… Please.” He’s driving me insane. I hear him smile.
The ice in my navel is melting. I am beyond warm – warm and chilled and wanting. Wanting him, inside me. Now.
His cool fingers trail languidly across my belly. My skin is oversensitive, my hips flex automatically, and the now warmer liquid from my navel seeps over my belly. Christian moves quickly, lapping it up with his tongue, kissing, biting me softly, sucking.
“Oh dear, Anastasia, you moved. What am I going to do to you?”
I’m panting loudly. All I can concentrate on is his voice and his touch. Nothing else is real. Nothing else matters, nothing else registers on my radar. His fingers slip into my panties, and I’m rewarded with his unguarded sharp intake of air.
“Oh, baby,” he murmurs and he pushes two fingers inside me.
I gasp.
“Ready for me so soon,” he says. He moves his fingers tantalizingly slowly, in, out, and I push against him, tilting my hips up.
“You are a greedy girl,” he scolds softly, and his thumb circles my clitoris and then presses down.
I groan loudly as my body bucks beneath his expert fingers. He reaches up and pushes the t-shirt over my head so I can see him as I blink in the soft light of my sidelight. I long to touch him.
“I want to touch you,” I breathe.
“I know,” he murmurs. He leans down and kisses me, his fingers still moving rhythmically inside me, his thumb circling and pressing. His other hand scoops my hair off my head and holds my head in place. His tongue mirrors the actions of his fingers, claiming me. My legs begin to stiffen as I push against his hand. He gentles his hand, so I’m brought back from the brink. He does this again and again. It’s so frustrating… Oh please Christian, I scream in my head.
“This is your punishment, so close and yet so far. Is this nice?” he breathes in my ear. I whimper, exhausted, pulling against my restraint. I’m helpless, lost in an erotic torment.
“Please,” I beg, and he finally takes pity on me.
“How shall I fuck you, Anastasia?”
Oh… my body starts to quiver. He stills again.
“Please.”
“What do you want, Anastasia?”
“You… now,” I cry.
“Shall I fuck you this way, or this way, or this way? There’s an endless choice,” he breathes against my lips. He withdraws his hand and reaches over to the bedside table for a foil packet. He kneels up between my legs, and very slowly he pulls my panties off, staring down at me, his eyes gleaming. He puts on the condom. I watch fascinated, mesmerized.
“How nice is this?” he says as he strokes himself.
“I meant it as a joke,” I whimper. Please fuck me, Christian.
He raises his eyebrows as his hand moves up and down his impressive length.
“A joke?” His voice is menacingly soft.
“Yes. Please, Christian,” I beseech him.
“Are you laughing now?”
“No,” I mewl.
I am just one ball of sexual, tense, need. He stares down at me for a moment, measuring my need, then he grabs me suddenly and flips me over. It takes me by surprise, and because my hands are tied, I have to support myself on my elbows. He pushes both my knees up the bed so my behind is in the air, and he slaps me hard. Before I can react, he plunges inside me. I cry out – from the slap and from his sudden assault, and I come instantly again and again, falling apart beneath him as he continues to slam deliciously into me. He doesn’t stop. I’m spent. I can’t take this… and he pounds on and on and on... then I’m building again… surely not… no…
“Come on, Anastasia, again,” he growls through clenched teeth, and unbelievably, my body responds, convulsing around him as I climax anew, calling out his name. I shatter again into tiny fragments, and Christian stills, finally letting go, silently finding his release. He collapses on top of me, breathing hard.
“How nice was that?” he asks through his gritted teeth.
Oh my.
I lie panting and spent on the bed, eyes closed as he slowly pulls out of me. He rises immediately and dresses. When he’s fully clothed, he climbs back on the bed and gently undoes his tie and pulls my t-shirt off. I flex my fingers and rub my wrists, smiling at the woven pattern imprinted on my wrists from the tie. I re-adjust my bra as he pulls the duvet and quilt over me. I stare up at him completely dazed, and he smirks down at me.
“That was really nice,” I whisper, smiling coyly.
“There’s that word again.”
“You don’t like that word?”
“No. It doesn’t do it for me at all.”
“Oh – I don’t know… it seems to have a very beneficial effect on you.”
“I’m a beneficial effect, now am I? Could you wound my ego any further, Miss Steele?”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your ego.” But even as I say it, I don’t feel the conviction of my words - something elusive crosses my mind, a fleeting thought, but it’s lost before I can grasp it.
“You think?” His voice is soft. He’s lying beside me, fully clothed, his head propped up on his elbow, and I am only wearing my bra.
“Why don’t you like to be touched?”
“I just don’t.” He reaches over and plants a soft kiss on my forehead. “So, that email was your idea of a joke.”
I smile apologetically at him and shrug.
“I see. So you are still considering my proposition?”
“Your indecent proposal… yes I am. I have issues though.”
He grins down at me as if relieved.
“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.”
“I was going to email them to you, but you kind of interrupted me.”
“Coitus Interruptus.”
“See, I knew you had a sense of humor somewhere in there.” I smile.
“Only certain things are funny, Anastasia. I thought you were saying no, no discussion at all.” His voice drops.
“I don’t know yet. I haven’t made up my mind. Will you collar me?”
He raises his eyebrows.
“You have been doing your research. I don’t know, Anastasia. I’ve never collared anyone.”
Oh… should I be surprised by this? I know so little about the scene… I don’t know.
“Were you collared?” I whisper.
“Yes.”
“By Mrs. Robinson?”
“Mrs. Robinson!” he laughs loudly, freely, and he looks so young and carefree, his head thrown back, his laughter infectious.
I grin back at him.
“I’ll tell her you said that, she’ll love it.”
“You still talk to her regularly?” I can’t keep the shock out of my voice.
“Yes.” He’s serious now.
Oh… and part of me is suddenly insanely jealous – I’m disturbed by the depth of my feeling.
“I see.” My voice is tight. “So you have someone you can discuss your alternative lifestyle with, but I’m not allowed.”
He frowns.
“I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it like that. Mrs. Robinson was part of that lifestyle. I told you, she’s a good friend now. If you’d like, I can introduce you to one of my former subs, you could talk to her.”
What? Is he deliberately trying to upset me?
“Is this your idea of a joke?
“No, Anastasia.” He’s bemused as he shakes his head earnestly.
“No – I’ll do this on my own, thank you very much,” I snap at him, pulling the duvet up to my chin.
He stares at me, at sea, surprised.
“Anastasia, I… ” He’s lost for words. A first, I think. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I’m not offended. I’m appalled.”
“Appalled?”
“I don’t want to talk to one of your ex-girlfriends… slave… sub… whatever you call them.”
“Anastasia Steele – are you jealous?”
I flush, crimson.
“Are you staying?”
“I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow at the Heathman. Besides, I told you, I don’t sleep with girlfriends, slaves, subs, or anyone. Friday and Saturday night were exceptions. It won’t happen again.” I can hear the resolve behind his soft, husky voice.
I purse my lips at him.
“Well I’m tired now.”
“Are you kicking me out?” He raises his eyebrows at me, amused and a little dismayed.
“Yes.”
“Well that’s another first.” He eyes me speculatively. “So nothing you want to discuss now? About the contract.”
“No.” I reply petulantly.
“God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better, and so would I.”
“You can’t say things like that… I haven’t signed anything yet.”
“A man can dream, Anastasia.” He leans over me and grasps my chin. “Wednesday?” he murmurs, and he kisses me lightly on my lips.
“Wednesday,” I agree. “I’ll see you out. If you give me a minute.” I sit up and grab my t-shirt, pushing him out of the way. Amused and reluctant, he gets up off the bed.
“Please pass me my sweat pants.”
He collects them from the floor and hands them to me.
“Yes, ma’am.” He’s trying unsuccessfully to hide his smile.
I narrow my eyes at him as I slip the pants on. My hair is a state, and I know I’ll have to face the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition after he’s gone. Grabbing a hair tie, I walk to my bedroom door, opening it slightly checking for Kate. She is not in the living area. I think I can hear her on the phone in her room. Christian follows me out. During the short walk from bedroom to front door, my thoughts and feelings ebb and flow, transforming. I’m no longer angry with him, I feel suddenly unbearably shy. I don’t want him to go. For the first time, I’m wishing he was – normal – wanting a normal relationship that doesn’t need a ten-page agreement, a flogger, and karabiners in his playroom ceiling.
I open the door for him and stare down at my hands. This is the first time I have ever had sex in my home, and as sex goes, I think it was pretty damn fine. But now I feel like a receptacle – an empty vessel to be filled at his whim. My subconscious shakes her head. You wanted to run to the Heathman for sex – you had it express-delivered. She crosses her arms and taps her foot with a what-are-you-complaining-about-look on her face. Christian stops in the doorway and clasps my chin, forcing my eyes to meet his. His brow creases slightly.
“You okay?” he asks tenderly as his thumb lightly caresses my bottom lip.
“Yes.” I reply, though in all honesty I’m just not sure. I feel a paradigm shift. I know that if I do this thing with him, I will get hurt. He’s not capable, interested, or willing to offer me any more… and I want more. Much more. The surge of jealousy I felt only moments ago tells me that I have deeper feelings for him than I have admitted to myself.
“Wednesday,” he confirms, and he leans forward and kisses me softly. Something changes while he’s kissing me, his lips grow more urgent against mine, his hand moves up from my chin and he’s holding the side of my head, his other hand on the other side. His breathing accelerates. He deepens the kiss, leaning into me. I put my hands on his arms. I want to run them through his hair, but I resist, knowing that he won’t like it. He leans his forehead against mine, his eyes closed, his voice strained.
“Anastasia,” he whispers. “What are you doing to me?”
“I could say the same to you,” I whisper back.
Taking a deep breath, he kisses my forehead and leaves. He strolls purposefully down the path towards his car as he runs his hand through his hair. Glancing up as he opens
his car door, he smiles his breathtaking smile. My answering smile is weak, completely dazzled by him, and I’m reminded once more of Icarus soaring too close to the Sun. I close the front door as he climbs into his sporty car. I have an overwhelming urge to cry, a sad and lonely melancholy grips and tightens round my heart. Dashing back to my bedroom, I close the door and lean against it trying to rationalize my feelings. I can’t. Sliding to the floor, I put my head in my hands as my tears begin to flow.
Kate knocks gently.
“Ana?” she whispers. I open the door. She takes one look at me and throws her arms around me.
“What’s wrong? What did that creepy good-looking bastard do?”
“Oh Kate, nothing I didn’t want him to.”
She pulls me to my bed and we sit.
“You have dreadful sex hair.”
In spite of my poignant sadness, I laugh.
“It was good sex, not dreadful at all.”
Kate smiles.
“That’s better. Why are you crying? You never cry.” She retrieves my brush from the side table, and sitting behind me, very slowly starts brushing out the knots.
“I just don’t think our relationship is going to go anywhere.” I stare down at my fingers.
“I thought you said you were going to see him on Wednesday?”
“I am, that was our original plan.”
“So, why did he turn up here today?”
“I sent him an email.”
“Asking him to drop by?”
“No, saying I didn’t want to see him anymore.”
“And he turns up? Ana, that’s genius.”
“Actually it was a joke.”
“Oh. Now I’m really confused.”
Patiently, I explain the essence of my email without giving anything away.
“So you thought he’d reply by email.”
“Yes.”
“But instead he turns up here.”
“Yes.”
“I’d say he’s completely smitten with you.”
I frown. Christian, smitten with me? Hardly. He’s just looking for a new toy – a convenient new toy that he can bed and do unspeakable things to. My heart tightens painfully. This is the reality.
“He came here to fuck me, that’s all.”
“Who said romance was dead?” she whispers horrified. I’ve shocked Kate. I didn’t think that was possible. I shrug apologetically.
“He uses sex as a weapon.”
“Fuck you into submission?” She shakes her head disapprovingly. I blink rapidly at her, and I can feel the blush as it spreads across my face. Oh… spot on, Katherine Kavanagh, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
“Ana, I don’t understand, you just let him make love to you?”
“No, Kate, we don’t make love – we fuck – Christian’s terminology. He doesn’t do the love thing.”
“I knew there was something weird about him. He has commitment issues.”
I nod, as if in agreement. Inwardly, I pine. Oh Kate... I wish I could tell you everything, everything about this strange, sad, kinky guy, and you could tell me to forget about him. Stop me from being a fool.
“I guess it’s all a little overwhelming,” I murmur. That’s the understatement of the year.
Because I don’t want to talk about Christian any more, I ask her about Elliot. Katherine’s whole demeanor changes at the mere mention of his name, she lights up from within, beaming at me.
“He’s coming over early Saturday to help load up.” She hugs the hairbrush, boy has she got it bad, and I feel a familiar faint stab of envy. Kate has found herself a normal man, and she looks so happy.
I turn and hug her.
“Oh, I meant to say. Your dad called while you were… err, occupied. Apparently Bob has sustained some injury, so your mom and he can’t make graduation. But your dad will be here Thursday. He wants you to call.”
“Oh... my mom never called me. Is Bob okay?”
“Yes. Call her in the morning. It’s late now.”
“Thanks, Kate. I’m okay now. I’ll call Ray in the morning too. I think I’ll just turn in.”
She smiles, but her eyes crinkle at the corners with concern.
After she’s gone, I sit and read the contract again, making more notes as I go. When I’ve finished, I fire up the laptop, ready to respond.
There’s an email from Christian in my inbox.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: This evening
Date: May 23 2011 23:16
To: Anastasia Steele
Miss SteeleI look forward to receiving your notes on the contract.
Until then, sleep well baby.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Issues
Date: May 24 2011 00:02
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. GreyHere is my list of issues. I look forward to discussing them more fully at dinner on Wednesday.
The numbers refer to clauses:
2: Not sure why this is solely for MY benefit – ie to explore MY sensuality and limits. I’m sure I wouldn’t need a ten-page contract to do that! Surely this is for YOUR benefit.
4: As you are aware you are my only sexual partner. I don’t take drugs, and I’ve not had any blood transfusions. I’m probably safe. What about you?
8: I can terminate at any time if I don’t think you’re sticking to the agreed limits. Okay – I like this.
9: Obey you in all things? Accept without hesitation your discipline? We need to talk about this.
11: One month trial period. Not three.
12: I cannot commit every weekend. I do have a life, or will have. Perhaps three out of four?
15.2: Using my body as you see fit sexually or otherwise – please define “or otherwise.”
15.5: This whole discipline clause. I’m not sure I want to be whipped, flogged, or corporally punished. I am sure this would be in breach of clauses 2-5. And also “for any other reason”. That’s just mean – and you told me you weren’t a sadist.
15.10: Like loaning me out to someone else would ever be an option. But I’m glad it’s here in black and white.
15.14: The Rules. More on those later.
15.19: Touching myself without your permission. What’s the problem with this? You know I don’t do it anyway.
15.21: Discipline – Please see clause 15.5 above.
15.22: I can’t look into your eyes? Why?
15.24: Why can’t I touch you?
Rules:
Sleep – I’ll agree to 6 hours. Food – I am not eating food from a prescribed list. The food list goes or I do – Deal breaker. Clothes – as long as I only have to wear your clothes when I’m with you... okay. Exercise – We agreed 3 hours, this still says 4.
Soft Limits:
Can we go through all of these? No Fisting of any kind. What is suspension? Genital Clamps – you have got to be kidding me.
Can you please let me know the arrangements for Wednesday? I am working until 5pm that day.
Good night.
Ana
From: Christian Grey
Subject: This evening
Date: May 24 2011 00:07
To: Anastasia Steele
Miss Steele
That’s a long list. Why are you still up?
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Burning the midnight oil
Date: May 24 2011 00:10
To: Christian Grey
Sir
If you recall I was going through this list, when I was distracted and bedded by a passing control freak.
Goodnight.
Ana
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Stop Burning the midnight oil
Date: May 24 2011 00:12
To: Anastasia Steele
GO TO BED ANASTASIA.
Christian Grey
CEO & Control Freak, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Oh… shouty capitals! I switch off. How can he intimidate me when he’s six miles away? I shake my head. My heart still heavy, I climb into bed and fall instantly into a deep but troubled sleep.

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