Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian(13)


by E.L. James

Time to wake the delectable Miss Steele; she’s slept enough.

Grabbing my workout towel and the shopping bag, I knock on the door and enter. To my delight, she’s sitting up in bed. The tablets are gone and so is the juice.

Good girl.

She pales as I saunter into the room.

Keep it casual, Grey. You don’t want to be charged with kidnapping.

She closes her eyes, and I assume it’s because she’s embarrassed.

“Good morning, Anastasia. How are you feeling?”

“Better than I deserve,” she mutters, as I place the bag on the chair. When she turns her gaze to me her eyes are impossibly big and blue, and though her hair is a tangled mess…she looks stunning.

“How did I get here?” she asks, as though she’s afraid of the answer.

Reassure her, Grey.

I sit down on the edge of the bed and stick to the facts. “After you passed out, I didn’t want to risk the leather upholstery in my car, taking you all the way to your apartment. So I brought you here.”

“Did you put me to bed?”

“Yes.”

“Did I throw up again?”

“No.” Thank God.

“Did you undress me?”

“Yes.” Who else would have undressed you?

She blushes, and at last she has some color in her cheeks. Perfect teeth bite down on her lip. I suppress a groan.

“We didn’t—?” she whispers, staring at her hands.

Christ, what kind of animal does she think I am?

“Anastasia, you were comatose. Necrophilia is not my thing.” My tone is dry. “I like my women sentient and receptive.” She sags with relief, which makes me wonder if this has happened to her before, that she’s passed out and woken up in a stranger’s bed and found out he’s fucked her without her consent. Maybe that’s the photographer’s modus operandi. The thought is disturbing. But I recall her confession last night—that she’d never been drunk before. Thank God she hasn’t made a habit of this.

“I’m so sorry,” she says, her voice full of shame.

Hell. Maybe I should go easy on her.

“It was a very diverting evening. Not one that I’ll forget in a while.” I hope that sounds conciliatory, but her brow creases.

“You didn’t have to track me down with whatever James Bond gadgetry you’re developing for the highest bidder.”

Whoa! Now she’s pissed. Why?

“First, the technology to track cell phones is available over the Internet.”

Well, the Deep Net…

“Second, my company does not invest or manufacture any kind of surveillance devices.”

My temper is fraying, but I’m on a roll. “And third, if I hadn’t come to get you, you’d probably be waking up in the photographer’s bed, and from what I can remember, you weren’t overly enthused about him pressing his suit.”

She blinks a couple of times, then starts giggling.

She’s laughing at me again.

“Which medieval chronicle did you escape from? You sound like a courtly knight.”

She’s beguiling. She’s calling me out…again, and her irreverence is refreshing, really refreshing. However, I’m under no illusion that I’m a knight in shining armor. Boy, has she got the wrong idea. And though it may not be to my advantage, I’m compelled to warn her that there’s nothing chivalrous or courtly about me. “Anastasia, I don’t think so. Dark knight, maybe.” If only she knew—and why are we discussing me? I change the subject. “Did you eat last night?”

She shakes her head.

I knew it!

“You need to eat. That’s why you were so ill. Honestly, it’s drinking rule number one.”

“Are you going to continue to scold me?”

“Is that what I’m doing?”

“I think so.”

“You’re lucky I’m just scolding you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday. You didn’t eat, you got drunk, you put yourself at risk.” The fear in my gut surprises me; such irresponsible, risk-taking behavior. “I hate to think what could have happened to you.”

She scowls. “I would have been fine. I was with Kate.”

Some help she was!

“And the photographer?” I retort.

“José just got out of line,” she says, dismissing my concern and tossing her tangled hair over her shoulder.

“Well, the next time he gets out of line, maybe someone should teach him some manners.”

“You’re quite the disciplinarian,” she snaps.

“Oh, Anastasia, you have no idea.”

An image of her shackled to my bench, peeled gingerroot inserted in her ass so she can’t clench her buttocks, comes to mind, followed by judicious use of a belt or strap. Yeah…That would teach her not to be so irresponsible. The thought is hugely appealing.

She’s staring at me wide-eyed and dazed, and it makes me uncomfortable. Can she read my mind? Or is she just looking at a pretty face.

“I’m going to have a shower. Unless you’d like to shower first?” I tell her, but she continues to gape. Even with her mouth open she’s quite lovely. She’s hard to resist, and I grant myself permission to touch her, tracing the line of her cheek with my thumb. Her breath catches in her throat as I stroke her soft bottom lip.

“Breathe, Anastasia,” I murmur, before I stand and inform her that breakfast will be here in fifteen minutes. She says nothing, her smart mouth silent for once.

In the bathroom I take a deep breath, strip, and climb into the shower. I’m half tempted to jerk off, but the familiar fear of discovery and disclosure, from an earlier time in my life, stops me.

Elena would not be pleased.

Old habits.

As the water cascades over my head I reflect on my latest interaction with the challenging Miss Steele. She’s still here, in my bed, so she cannot find me completely repulsive. I noticed the way her breath caught in her throat, and how her gaze followed me around the room.

Yeah. There’s hope.

But would she make a good submissive?

It’s obvious she knows nothing of the lifestyle. She couldn’t even say “fuck” or “sex” or whatever bookish college students use as a euphemism for fucking these days. She’s quite the innocent. She’s probably been subjected to a few fumbling encounters with boys like the photographer.

The thought of her fumbling with anyone irks me.

I could just ask her if she’s interested.

No. I’d have to show her what she’d be taking on if she agreed to a relationship with me.

Let’s see how we both fare over breakfast.

Rinsing off the soap, I stand beneath the hot stream and gather my wits for round two with Anastasia Steele. I switch off the water and, stepping out of the shower, grab a towel. A quick check in the steamed-up mirror and I decide to skip shaving today. Breakfast will be here shortly, and I’m hungry. Quickly I brush my teeth.

When I open the bathroom door she’s out of bed and searching for her jeans. She looks up like the archetypal startled fawn, all long legs and big eyes.

“If you’re looking for your jeans, I’ve sent them to the laundry.” She really has great legs. She shouldn’t hide them in pants. Her eyes narrow, and I think she’s going to argue with me, so I tell her why. “They were spattered with your vomit.”

“Oh,” she says.

Yes. “Oh.” Now, what do you have to say to that, Miss Steele?

“I sent Taylor out for another pair and some shoes. They’re in the bag on the chair.” I nod at the shopping bag.

She raises her eyebrows—in surprise, I think. “Um. I’ll have a shower,” she mutters, and then as an afterthought she adds, “Thanks.”

Grabbing the bag, she dodges around me, darts into the bathroom, and locks the door.

Hmm…she couldn’t get into the bathroom quick enough.

Away from me.

Perhaps I’m being too optimistic.

Disheartened, I briskly dry off and get dressed. In the living room I check my e-mail, but there’s nothing urgent. I’m interrupted by a knock on the door. Two young women have arrived from room service.

“Where would you like breakfast, sir?”

“Set it up on the dining table.”

Walking back into the bedroom, I catch their furtive looks, but I ignore them and suppress the guilt I feel over how much food I’ve ordered. We’ll never eat it all.

“Breakfast is here,” I call, and rap on the bathroom door.

“O-okay.” Ana’s voice sounds a little muted.

Back in the living room, our breakfast is on the table. One of the women, who has dark, dark eyes, hands me the check to sign, and from my wallet I pull a couple of twenties for them.

“Thank you, ladies.”

“Just call room service when you want the table cleared, sir,” Miss Dark Eyes says with a coquettish look, as if she’s offering more.