There is light everywhere. Bright, warm, piercing light, and I endeavor to keep it at bay for a few more precious minutes. I want to hide, just a few more minutes. But the glare is too strong, and I finally succumb to wakefulness. A glorious Seattle morning greets me – sunshine pouring through the full-height windows and flooding the room with too-bright light. Why didn’t we close the blinds last night? I am in Christian Grey’s vast bed minus one Christian Grey.
I lie back for a moment staring through the windows at the lofty vista of Seattle’s skyline. Life in the clouds sure feels unreal. A fantasy – a castle in the air, adrift from the ground, safe from the realities of life – far away from neglect, hunger, and crack-whore mothers. I shudder to think what he went through as a small child, and I understand why he lives here, isolated, surrounded by beautiful, precious works of art – so far removed from where he started… mission statement indeed. I frown because it still doesn’t explain why I can’t touch him.
Ironically, I feel the same up here in his lofty tower. I’m adrift from reality. I’m in this fantasy apartment, having fantasy sex with my fantasy boyfriend. When the grim reality is he wants a special arrangement, though he’s said he’ll try more. What does that actually mean? This is what I need to clarify between us to see if we are still at opposite ends on the see-saw or if we are inching closer together.
I clamber out of bed feeling stiff, and for want of a better expression, well-used. Yes, that would be all the sex then. My subconscious purses her lips in disapproval. I roll my eyes at her, grateful that a certain twitchy-palmed control freak is not in the room, and resolve to ask him about the personal trainer. That’s if I sign. My inner goddess glares at me in desperation. Of course you’ll sign. I ignore them both, and after a quick trip to the bathroom, I go in search of Christian.
He’s not in the art gallery, but an elegant middle-aged woman is cleaning in the kitchen area. The sight of her stops me in my tracks. She has short blonde hair and clear blue eyes; she wears a plain white tailored shirt and a navy blue pencil skirt. She smiles broadly when she sees me.
“Good morning, Miss Steele. Would you like some breakfast?” Her tone is warm but business like, and I am stunned. Who is this attractive blonde in Christian’s kitchen? I’m only wearing Christian’s t-shirt. I feel self-conscious and embarrassed by my lack of clothing.
“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.” My voice is quiet, unable to hide the anxiety in my voice.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry – I’m Mrs. Jones, Mr. Grey’s housekeeper.”
“How do you do?” I manage.
“Would you like some breakfast, ma’am?”
“Just some tea would be lovely, thank you. Do you know where Mr. Grey is?”
“In his study.”
I scuttle off toward the study, mortified. Why does Christian only have attractive blondes working for him? And a nasty thought comes involuntarily into my mind – Are they all ex-subs? I refuse to entertain that hideous idea. I poke my head shyly round the door. He’s on the phone, facing the window, in black pants and a white shirt. His hair is still wet from the shower, and I’m completely distracted from my negative thoughts.
“Unless that company’s P&L improves, I’m not interested, Ros. We’re not carrying dead weight… I don’t need any more lame excuses… Have Marco call me, it’s shit or bust time... Yes, tell Barney that the prototype looks good, though I’m not sure about the interface… No, it’s just missing something… I want to meet him this afternoon to discuss… In fact, him and his team, we can brainstorm…. Okay. Transfer me back to Andrea… ” He waits, staring out of the window, master of his universe, staring down at the little people below from this castle in the sky. “Andrea… ”
Glancing up, he notices me at the door. A slow, sexy smile spreads across his beautiful face, and I’m rendered speechless as my insides melt. He is without a doubt the most beautiful man on the planet, too beautiful for the little people below, too beautiful for me. No my inner goddess scowls at me, not too beautiful for me. He is sort of mine, for now. The idea sends a thrill through my blood and dispels my irrational self-doubt.
He continues his conversation, his eyes never leaving mine.
“Clear my schedule this morning, but get Bill to call me. I’ll be in at two. I need to talk to Marco this afternoon, that will need at least half an hour… Schedule Barney and his
team in after Marco or maybe tomorrow, and find time for me to see Claude everyday this week… Tell him to wait… Oh… No, I don’t want publicity for Darfur… Tell Sam to deal with it… No…. Which event?... That’s next Saturday?… Hold on.”
“When will you be back from Georgia?” he asks.
He resumes his phone conversation.
“I’ll need an extra ticket because I have a date… Yes Andrea, that’s what I said, a date, Miss Anastasia Steele will accompany me… That’s all.” He hangs up. “Good morning, Miss Steele.”
“Mr. Grey,” I smile shyly.
He walks around his desk with his usual grace and stands in front of me. He smells so good; clean and freshly laundered, so Christian. He gently strokes my cheek with the back of his fingers.
“I didn’t want to wake you, you looked so peaceful. Did you sleep well?”
“I am very well-rested, thank you. I just came to say hi before I had a shower.”
I gaze up at him, drinking him in. He leans down and gently kisses me, and I can’t help myself. I throw my arms around his neck and my fingers twist in his still damp hair. Pushing my body flush against his, I kiss him back. I want him. My attack takes him by surprise, but after a beat, he responds, a low groan in his throat. His hands slip into my hair and down my back to cup my naked behind, his tongue exploring my mouth. He pulls back, his eyes hooded.
“Well, sleep seems to agree with you,” he murmurs. “I suggest you go and have your shower, or I shall lay you across my desk, now.”
“I choose the desk,” I whisper recklessly as desire sweeps like adrenaline through my system, waking everything in its path.
He stares bewildered down at me for a millisecond.
“You’ve really got a taste for this, haven’t you, Miss Steele. You’re becoming insatiable,” he murmurs.
“I’ve only got a taste for you,” I whisper.
His eyes widen and darken while his hands knead my naked backside.
“Damn right, only me,” he growls, and suddenly with one fluid movement, he clears all the plans and papers off his desk so that they scatter on the floor, sweeps me up in his arms, and lays me down across the short end of his desk so that my head is almost off the edge.
“You want it, you got it, baby,” he mutters, producing a foil packet from his pants pocket while he unzips his pants. Oh Mr. Boy Scout. He rolls the condom over his erection and gazes down at me. “I sure hope you’re ready,” he breathes, a salacious smile across his face. And in a moment, he’s filling me, holding my wrists tightly by my side, and thrusting into me deeply.
I groan… oh yes.
“Christ, Ana. You’re so ready,” he whispers in veneration.
Wrapping my legs around his waist, I hold him the only way I can as he stays standing, staring down at me, gray eyes glowing, passionate and possessive. He starts to move, really move. This is not making love, this is fucking – and I love it. I groan. It’s so raw, so carnal, making me so wanton. I revel in his possession, his lust slaking mine. He moves
with ease, luxuriating in me, enjoying me, his lips slightly parted as his breathing increases. He twists his hips from side to side, and the feeling is exquisite.
Oh my. I close my eyes, feeling the build up – that delicious, slow, step climbing build. Pushing me higher, higher to the castle in the air. Oh yes… his stroke increasing fractionally. I moan loudly. I am all sensation… all him, enjoying every thrust, every push that fills me. And he picks up the pace, thrusting faster… harder… and my whole body is moving to his rhythm, and I can feel my legs stiffening, and my insides quivering and quickening.
“Come on, baby, give it up for me,” he cajoles through gritted teeth – and the fervent need in his voice – the strain – sends me over the edge.
I cry out a wordless, passionate plea as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, back to a breathless, bright summit on Earth. He slams into me and stops abruptly as he reaches his climax, pulling at my wrists, and sinking gracefully and wordlessly onto me.
Wow... that was unexpected. I slowly materialize back on Earth.
“What the hell are you doing to me?” he breathes as he nuzzles my neck. “You completely beguile me, Ana. You weave some powerful magic.”
He releases my wrists, and I run my fingers through his hair, coming down from my high. I tighten my legs around him.
“I’m the one beguiled,” I whisper.
He looks up, gazing at me, his expression is disconcerted, alarmed even. Placing his hands on either side of my face, he holds my head in place.
“You. Are. Mine,” he says, each word a staccato. “Do you understand?”
He’s so earnest, so impassioned – a zealot. The force of his plea is so unexpected and disarming. I wonder why he’s feeling like this.
“Yes, yours,” I whisper, derailed by his fervor.
“Are you sure you have to go to Georgia?”
I nod slowly. And in that brief moment, I can see his expression change and the shutters coming down. Abruptly he withdraws, making me wince.
“Are you sore?” he asks, leaning over me.
“A little,” I confess.
“I like you sore.” His eyes smolder. “Reminds you where I’ve been, and only me.”
He grabs my chin and kisses me roughly, then stands and holds his hand out to help me up. I glance down at the foil packet beside me.
“Always prepared,” I murmur.
He looks at me confused as he redoes his fly. I hold up the empty packet.
“A man can hope, Anastasia, dream even, and sometimes his dreams come true.”
He sounds so odd, his eyes burning. I just don’t understand. My post coital glow is fading fast. What is his problem?
“So, on your desk, that’s been a dream?” I ask dryly, trying humor to lighten the atmosphere between us.
He smiles an enigmatic smile that doesn’t reach his eyes, and I know immediately this is not the first time he’s had sex on his desk. The thought is unwelcome. I squirm uncomfortably as my post coital glow evaporates.
“I’d better go and have a shower.” I stand and make to move past him.
He frowns and runs a hand through his hair.
“I’ve got a couple more calls to make. I’ll join you for breakfast once you’re out of the shower. I think Mrs. Jones has laundered your clothes from yesterday. They’re in the closet.”
What? When the hell did she do that? Jeez, could she hear us? I flush.
“Thank you,” I mutter.
“You’re most welcome,” he replies automatically, but there’s an edge to his voice.
I’m not saying thank you for fucking me. Although, it was very...
“What?” he asks, and I realize I’m frowning.
“What’s wrong?” I ask softly.
“What do you mean?”
“Well… you’re being more weird than usual.”
“You find me weird?” He tries to stifle a smile.
He regards me for a moment, his eyes speculative.
“As ever, I’m surprised by you, Miss Steele.”
“Let’s just say that was an unexpected treat.”
“We aim to please, Mr. Grey.” I cock my head to one side like he often does to me and give his words back to him.
“And please me you do,” he says, but he looks uneasy. “I thought you were going to have a shower.”
Oh, he’s dismissing me.
“Yes… um, I’ll see you in a moment.” I scurry out of his office completely dumbfounded.
He seemed confused. Why? I have to say as physical experiences go, that was very satisfying. But emotionally – well, I’m rattled by his reaction, and that was about as emotionally enriching as cotton candy is nutritious.
Mrs. Jones is still in the kitchen.
“Would you like your tea now, Miss Steele?”
“I’ll have a shower first, thank you,” I mutter and take my blazing face quickly out of the room.
In the shower, I try to figure out what’s up with Christian. He is the most complicated person I know, and I cannot understand his ever-changing moods. He seemed fine when I went into his study. We had sex… and then he wasn’t. No, I don’t get it. I look to my subconscious. She’s whistling with her hands behind her back and looking anywhere but at me. She hasn’t got a clue, and my inner goddess is still basking in a remnant of post-coital glow. No – we’re all clueless.
I towel-dry my hair, comb it through with Christian’s one and only hair implement, and put my hair up in bun. Kate’s plum dress hangs laundered and ironed in the closet along with my clean bra and panties. Mrs. Jones is a marvel. Slipping on Kate’s shoes, I straighten my dress, take a deep breath, and head back out to the great room.
Christian is still nowhere to be seen, and Mrs. Jones is checking the contents of the pantry.
“Tea now, Miss Steele?” she asks.
“Please.” I smile at her. I feel slightly more confident now that I’m dressed.
“Would you like something to eat?”
“No, thank you.”
“Of course you’ll have something to eat,” Christian snaps, glowering. “She likes pancakes, bacon, and eggs, Mrs. Jones.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey. What would you like, sir?”
“Omelet, please, and some fruit.” He doesn’t take his eyes off me, his expression unfathomable. “Sit,” he orders, pointing to one of the bar stools.
I oblige, and he sits beside me while Mrs. Jones busies herself with breakfast. Gosh, it’s unnerving having someone else listen to our conversation.
“Have you bought your air ticket?”
“No, I’ll buy it when I get home – over the Internet.”
He leans on his elbow, rubbing his chin.
“Do you have the money?”
“Yes,” I say with mock patience as if I’m talking to a small child.
He raises a censorious eyebrow at me. Crap.
“Yes, I do, thank you,” I amend rapidly.
“I have a jet. It’s not scheduled to be used for three days, it’s at your disposal.”
I gape at him. Of course he has a jet, and I have to resist my body’s natural inclination to roll my eyes at him. I want to laugh. But I don’t, as I can’t read his mood.
“We’ve already made serious misuse of your company’s aviation fleet. I wouldn’t want to do it again.”
“It’s my company, it’s my jet.” He sounds almost wounded. Oh, boys and their toys!
“Thank you for the offer. But I’d be happier taking a scheduled flight.”
He looks like he wants to argue further but decides against it.
“As you wish,” he sighs. “Do you have much preparation to do for your interview?”
“Good. You’re still not going to tell me which publishing houses?”
His lips curl up in a reluctant smile.
“I am a man of means, Miss Steele.”
“I am fully aware of that, Mr. Grey. Are you going to track my phone?” I ask innocently.
“Actually, I’ll be quite busy this afternoon, so I’ll have to get someone else to do it.” He smirks.
Is he joking?
“If you can spare someone to do that, you’re obviously overstaffed.”
“I’ll send an email to the head of human resources and have her look into our head count.” His lips twitch to hide his smile.
Oh thank the Lord, he’s recovered his sense of humor.
Mrs. Jones serves us breakfast and we eat quietly for a few moments. After clearing the pans, tactfully, she heads out of the living area. I peek up at him.
“What it is, Anastasia?”
“You know, you never did tell me why you don’t like to be touched.”
He blanches, and his reaction makes me feel guilty for asking.
“I’ve told you more than I’ve ever told anybody.” His voice is quiet as he gazes at me impassively.
And it’s clear to me that he’s never confided in anyone. Doesn’t he have any close friends? Perhaps he told Mrs. Robinson? I want to ask him, but I can’t – I can’t pry that invasively. I shake my head at the realization. He really is an island.
“Will you think about our arrangement while you’re away?” he asks.
“Will you miss me?”
I gaze at him, surprised by his question.
“Yes,” I answer honestly.
How could he mean so much to me in such a short time? He’s got right under my skin… literally. He smiles and his eyes light up.
“I’ll miss you too. More than you know,” he breathes.
My heart warms at his words. He really is trying, hard. He gently strokes my cheek, bends down, and kisses me softly.
It is late afternoon, and I sit nervous and fidgeting in the lobby waiting for Mr. J. Hyde of Seattle Independent Publishing. This is my second interview today, and the one I’m most anxious about. My first interview went well, but it was for a larger conglomerate with offices based throughout the US, and I would be one of many editorial assistants there. I can imagine being swallowed up and spat out pretty quickly in such a corporate machine. SIP is where I want to be. It’s small and unconventional, championing local authors, and has an interesting and quirky roster of clients.
My surroundings are sparse, but I think it’s a design statement rather than frugality. I am seated on one of two dark green chesterfield couches made of leather – not unlike the couch that Christian has in his playroom. I stroke the leather appreciatively and wonder idly what Christian does on that couch. My mind wanders as I think of the possibilities… no – I must not go there now. I flush at my wayward and inappropriate thoughts. The receptionist is a young African-American woman with large silver earrings and long straightened hair. She has a bohemian look about her, the sort of woman I could be friendly with. The thought is comforting. Every few moments, she glances at up me, away from her computer and smiles reassuringly. I tentatively return her smile.
My flight is booked; my mother is in seventh heaven that I am visiting; I am packed, and Kate has agreed to drive me to the airport. Christian has ordered me to take my BlackBerry and the Mac. I roll my eyes at the memory of his overbearing bossiness, but I realize now that’s just the way he is. He likes control over everything, including me. Yet he’s so unpredictably and disarmingly agreeable too. He can be tender, good-humored, even sweet. And when he is, it’s so left field and unexpected. He insisted on accompanying me all the way down to my car in the garage. Jeez, I’m only going for a few days, he’s acting like I’m going for weeks. He keeps me on the back foot permanently.
“Ana Steele?” A woman with long, black, pre-Raphaelite hair standing by the reception desk distracts me from my introspection. She has the same bohemian, floaty look as the receptionist. She could be in her late thirties, maybe in her forties. It’s so difficult to tell with older women.
“Yes,” I reply, standing awkwardly.
She gives me a polite smile, her cool hazel eyes assessing me. I am wearing one of Kate’s dresses, a black pinafore over a white blouse, and my black pumps. Very interview, I think. My hair is restrained in a ponytail, and for once the tendrils are behaving themselves… she holds her hand out to me.
“Hello, Ana, my name’s Elizabeth Morgan. I’m head of Human Resources here at SIP.”
“How do you do?” I shake her hand. She looks very casual to be the head of HR.
“Please follow me.”
We go through the double doors behind the reception area, into a large brightly decorated open plan office, and from there, head into a small meeting room. The walls are pale green, lined with pictures of book covers. At the head of the Maplewood conference table sits a young man with red hair tied in a ponytail. Small, silver, hooped earrings glint in both his ears. He wears a pale blue shirt, no tie, and grey flannel trousers. As I approach him, he stands and gazes at me with fathomless dark blue eyes.
“Ana Steele, I’m Jack Hyde, the commissioning editor here at SIP, and I’m very pleased to meet you.”
We shake hands, and his dark expression is unreadable, though friendly enough, I think.
“Have you traveled far?” he asks pleasantly.
“No, I’ve recently moved to the Pike Street Market area.”
“Oh, not far at all then. Please, take a seat.”
I sit, and Elizabeth takes a seat beside him.
“So why would you like to intern for us at SIP, Ana?” he asks.
He says my name softly and cocks his head to one side, like someone I know – it’s unnerving. Doing my best to ignore the irrational wariness he inspires, I launch into my carefully prepared speech, conscious that a rosy flush is spreading across my cheeks. I look at both of them, remembering The Katherine Kavanagh Successful Interviewing Technique lecture – maintain eye contact, Ana! Boy, that woman can be bossy too, sometimes. Jack and Elizabeth both listen attentively.
“You have a very impressive GPA. What extra-curricular activities did you indulge in at WSU?”
Indulge? I blink at him. What an odd choice of word. I launch into details of my librarianship at the campus central library, and my one experience of interviewing an obscenely rich despot for the student magazine. I gloss over the part that I didn’t actually write the article. I mention the two literary societies that I belonged to and conclude with working at Clayton’s and all the useless knowledge I now possess about hardware and DIY. They both laugh, which is the response I’d hoped for. Slowly, I relax and begin to enjoy myself.
Jack Hyde asks sharp, intelligent questions, but I’m not thrown – I keep up, and when we discuss my reading preferences and my favorite books, I think I hold my own. Jack, on the other hand, appears to only favor American literature written after 1950. Nothing else. No classics - not even Henry James or Upton Sinclair or F Scott Fitzgerald. Elizabeth says nothing, just nods occasionally and takes notes. Jack, though argumentative, is charming in his way, and my initial wariness dissipates the longer we talk.
“And where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” he asks.
With Christian Grey, the thought comes involuntarily into my head. My errant mind makes me frown.
“Copy editing perhaps? Maybe a literary agent, I’m not sure. I am open to opportunities.”
“Very good, Ana. I don’t have any further questions. Do you?” he directs his question at me.
“When would you like someone to start?” I ask.
“As soon as possible,” Elizabeth pipes up. “When could you start?”
“I’m available from next week.”
“That’s good to know,” Jack says.
“If that’s all anyone has to say,” Elizabeth glances at the two of us, “I think that concludes the interview.” She smiles kindly.
“It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Ana,” Jack says softly as he takes my hand. He squeezes it gently, so that I blink up at him as I say goodbye.
I feel unsettled as I make my way to my car, though I’m not sure why. I think the interview went well, but it’s so hard to say. Interviews seem such artificial situations, everyone on their best behavior trying desperately to hide behind a professional façade. Did my face fit? I shall have to wait and see.
I climb into my Audi A3 and head back to the apartment, though I take me time. I’m on the red-eye with a stopover in Atlanta, but my flight doesn’t leave until 10:25 this evening, so I have plenty of time.
Kate is unpacking boxes in the kitchen when I return.
“How did they go?” she asks, excited. Only Kate can look gorgeous in an oversized shirt, tattered jeans, and a dark blue bandana.
“Good, thanks, Kate. Not sure this outfit was cool enough for the second interview.”
“Boho chic might have done it.”
Kate raises an eyebrow.
“You and boho chic.” She cocks her head to one side - Gah! Why is everyone reminding me of my favorite Fifty Shades? “Actually, Ana, you’re one of the few people who could really pull that look off.”
“I really liked the second place. I think I could fit in there. The guy who interviewed me was unnerving though,” I trail off – shit I’m talking to foghorn Kavanagh here. Shut up Ana!
“Oh?” The Katherine Kavanagh radar for an interesting tidbit of information swoops into action – a tidbit that will only resurface at some inopportune and embarrassing moment, which reminds me.
“Incidentally – will you please stop winding Christian up? Your comment about José at dinner yesterday was out of line. He’s a jealous guy. It doesn’t do any good, you know.”
“Look, if he wasn’t Elliot’s brother I’d have said a lot worse. He’s a real control freak. I don’t know how you stand it. I was trying to make him jealous – give him a little help with his commitment issues.” She holds her hands up defensively. “But – if you don’t want me to interfere, I won’t,” she says hastily at my scowl.
“Good. Life with Christian is complicated enough, trust me.”
Jeez, I sound like him.
“Ana,” she pauses staring at me. “You’re okay, aren’t you? You’re not running to your mother’s to escape?”
“No Kate. It was you who said I needed a break.”
She closes the distance between us and takes my hands – a most un-Kate thing to do. Oh no… tears threaten.
“You’re just, I don’t know… different. I hope you’re okay, and whatever issues you’re having with Mr. Moneybags, you can talk to me. And I will try not to wind him up, though frankly it’s like shooting fish in a barrel with him. Look, Ana, if something’s wrong, you will tell me, I won’t judge. I’ll try to understand.”
I blink back tears.
“Oh, Kate.” I hug her. “I think I’ve really fallen for him.”
“Ana, anyone can see that. And he’s fallen for you. He’s mad about you. Won’t take his eyes off you.”
I laugh uncertainly.
“Do you think so?”
“Hasn’t he told you?”
“Not in so many words.”
“Have you told him?”
“Not in so many words.” I shrug apologetically.
“Ana! Someone has to make the first move, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.”
What… tell him how I feel?
“I’m just afraid I’ll frighten him away.”
“And how do you know he’s not feeling the same?”
“Christian, afraid? I can’t imagine him being frightened of anything.” But as I say the words, I imagine him as a small child. Maybe fear was all he knew then. Sorrow grips and squeezes my heart at the thought.
Kate gazes at me with pursed lips and narrowed eyes, rather like my subconscious – all she needs is the half-moon specs.
“You two need to sit down and talk to each other.”
“We haven’t been doing much talking lately.” I flush. Other stuff. Non-verbal communication and that’s okay. Well, much more than okay.
“That’ll be the sexing! If that’s going well, then that’s half the battle Ana. I’ll grab some Chinese take-out. Are you ready to go?”
“I will be – we don’t have to leave for a couple of hours or so.”
“No – I’ll see you in twenty.” She grabs her jacket and leaves, forgetting to close the door. I shut it behind her and head off to my bedroom mulling over her words.
Is Christian afraid of his feelings for me? Does he even have feelings for me? He seems very keen, says I’m his – but that’s just part of his I-must-own-and-have-everything-now – control-freak dominant self, surely. I realize that while I’m away, I will have to run through all our conversations again and see if I can pick out telltale signs.
I’ll miss you too… more than you know...
You’ve completely beguiled me…
I shake my head. I don’t want to think about it now. I am charging the BlackBerry, so I haven’t had it with me all afternoon. I approach it with caution, and I’m disappointed that there are no messages. I switch on the mean machine, and there are no messages there either. Same email address Ana – my subconscious rolls her eyes at me, and for the first time, I understand why Christian wants to spank me when I do that.
Okay. Well, I’ll write him an email.
From: Anastasia Steele
Date: May 30 2011 18:49
To: Christian Grey
My interviews went well today.
Thought you might be interested.
How was your day?
I sit and glare at the screen. Christian’s responses are usually instantaneous. I wait… and wait, and finally I hear the welcome ping from my inbox.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: My day
Date: May 30 2011 19:03
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
Everything you do interests me, you are the most fascinating woman I know.
I’m glad your interviews went well.
My morning was beyond all expectations.
My afternoon was very dull in comparison.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Fine Morning
Date: May 30 2011 19:05
To: Christian Grey
The morning was exemplary for me too, in spite of you weirding out on me after the impeccable desk sex. Don’t think I didn’t notice.
Thank you for breakfast. Or thank Mrs. Jones.
I’d like to ask you questions about her – without you weirding out on me again.
My finger hovers over the send button, and I am reassured that I’ll be on the other side of the continent this time tomorrow.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Publishing and You?
Date: May 30 2011 19:10
To: Anastasia Steele
‘Weirding’ is not a verb and should not be used by anyone who wants to go into publishing. Impeccable? Compared to what, pray tell? And what do you need to ask about Mrs. Jones? I’m intrigued.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: You and Mrs. Jones
Date: May 30 2011 19:17
To: Christian Grey
Language evolves and moves on. It is an organic thing. It is not stuck in an ivory tower, hung with expensive works of art and overlooking most of Seattle with a helipad stuck on its roof.
Impeccable – compared to the other times we have… what’s your word… oh yes… fucked. Actually the fucking has been pretty impeccable, period, in my humble opinion – but then as you know I have very limited experience.
Is Mrs. Jones an ex-sub of yours?
My finger hovers once more over the send button, and I press it.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Language. Watch Your Mouth!
Date: May 30 2011 19:22
To: Anastasia Steele
Mrs. Jones is a valued employee. I have never had any relationship with her beyond our professional one. I do not employ anyone I’ve had any sexual relations with. I am shocked that you would think so. The only person I would make an exception to this rule is you – because you are a bright young woman with remarkable negotiating skills. Though, if you continue to use such language, I may have to reconsider taking you on here. I am glad you have limited experience. Your experience will continue to be limited – just to me. I shall take impeccable as a compliment – though with you, I’m never sure if that’s what you mean, or if your sense of irony is getting the better of you – as usual.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. From His Ivory Tower
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Not for all the Tea in China
Date: May 30 2011 19:27
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
I think I have already expressed my reservations about working for your company. My views on this have not changed, are not changing, and will not change, ever. I must leave you now as Kate has returned with food. My sense of irony and I, bid you goodnight.
I will contact you once I’m in Georgia.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Even Twinings English Breakfast Tea?
Date: May 30 2011 19:29
To: Anastasia Steele
I hope you and your sense of irony have a safe flight.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Kate and I pull up outside the drop-off area at Sea-Tac Airport terminal. Leaning across, she hugs me.
“Enjoy Barbados, Kate. Have a wonderful holiday.”
“I’ll see you when I get back. Don’t let old moneybags grind you down.”
We hug again – and then I’m on my own. I head over to check-in and stand in line, waiting with my carry-on luggage. I haven’t bothered with a suitcase, just a smart rucksack that Ray gave me for my last birthday.
“Ticket please?” The bored young man behind the desk holds up his hand without looking at me.
Mirroring his boredom, I hand over my ticket and my driver’s license as ID. I am hoping for a window seat if at all possible.
“Okay, Miss Steele. You’ve been upgraded to first class.”
“Ma’am, if you’d like to go through to the first class lounge and await your flight there.” He seems to have woken up and is beaming at me like I’m the Christmas Fairy and the Easter Bunny rolled into one.
“Surely there’s some mistake.”
“No, no.” He checks his computer screen again. “Anastasia Steele – upgrade.” He simpers at me.
Ugh. I narrow my eyes. He hands me my boarding pass, and I head towards the first class lounge muttering under my breath. Damn Christian Grey, interfering control freak – he just can’t leave well enough alone.