Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian(14)


by E.L. James

My chilly smile warns her off.

Sitting down at the table with the newspaper, I pour myself a coffee and make a start on my omelet. My phone buzzes—a text from Elliot.

Kate wants to know if Ana is still alive.

I chuckle, somewhat mollified that Ana’s so-called friend is thinking about her. It’s obvious that Elliot hasn’t given his dick a rest after all his protestations yesterday. I text back.

Alive and kicking ;)

Ana appears a few moments later: hair wet, in the pretty blue blouse that matches her eyes. Taylor has done well; she looks lovely. Scanning the room, she spots her purse.

“Crap, Kate!” she blurts.

“She knows you’re here and still alive. I texted Elliot.”

She gives me an uncertain smile as she walks toward the table.

“Sit,” I say, pointing to the place that’s been set for her. She frowns at the amount of food on the table, which only accentuates my guilt.

“I didn’t know what you liked, so I ordered a selection from the breakfast menu,” I mutter by way of an apology.

“That’s very profligate of you,” she says.

“Yes, it is.” My guilt blooms. But as she opts for the pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon with maple syrup, and tucks in, I forgive myself. It’s good to see her eat.

“Tea?” I ask.

“Yes, please,” she says between mouthfuls. She’s obviously famished. I pass her the small teapot of water. She gives me a sweet smile when she notices the Twinings English Breakfast tea.

I have to catch my breath at her expression. And it makes me uneasy.

It gives me hope.

“Your hair’s very damp,” I observe.

“I couldn’t find the hair dryer,” she says, embarrassed.

She’ll get sick.

“Thank you for the clothes,” she adds.

“It’s a pleasure, Anastasia. That color suits you.”

She stares down at her fingers.

“You know, you really should learn to take a compliment.”

Perhaps she doesn’t get many…but why? She’s gorgeous in an understated way.

“I should give you some money for these clothes.”

What?

I glare at her, and she continues quickly, “You’ve already given me the books, which, of course, I can’t accept. But these, please let me pay you back.”

Sweetheart.

“Anastasia, trust me, I can afford it.”

“That’s not the point. Why should you buy these for me?”

“Because I can.” I’m a very rich man, Ana.

“Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.” Her voice is soft, but suddenly I’m wondering if she’s looked through me and seen my darkest desires. “Why did you send me the books, Christian?”

Because I wanted to see you again, and here you are…

“Well, when you were nearly run over by the cyclist—and I was holding you and you were looking up at me—all ‘kiss me, kiss me, Christian’—” I stop, recalling that moment, her body pressed against mine. Shit. Quickly I shrug off the memory. “I felt I owed you an apology and a warning. Anastasia, I’m not a hearts-and-flowers kind of man. I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You should steer clear of me. There’s something about you, though, and I’m finding it impossible to stay away. But I think you’ve figured that out already.”

“Then don’t,” she whispers.

What?

“You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“Enlighten me, then.”

Her words travel straight to my cock.

Fuck.

“You’re not celibate?” she asks.

“No, Anastasia, I’m not celibate.” And if you’d let me tie you up I’d prove it to you right now.

Her eyes widen and her cheeks pink.

Oh, Ana.

I have to show her. It’s the only way I’ll know. “What are your plans for the next few days?” I ask.

“I’m working today, from midday. What time is it?” she exclaims in panic.

“It’s just after ten; you’ve plenty of time. What about tomorrow?”

“Kate and I are going to start packing. We’re moving to Seattle next weekend, and I’m working at Clayton’s all this week.”

“You have a place in Seattle already?”

“Yes.”

“Where?”

“I can’t remember the address. It’s in the Pike Market District.”

“Not far from me.” Good! “So what are you going to do for work in Seattle?”

“I’ve applied for some internships. I’m waiting to hear.”

“Have you applied to my company, as I suggested?”

“Um…no.”

“And what’s wrong with my company?”

“Your company or your company?” She arches an eyebrow.

“Are you smirking at me, Miss Steele?” I can’t hide my amusement.

Oh, she’d be a joy to train…challenging, maddening woman.

She examines her plate, chewing at her lip.

“I’d like to bite that lip,” I whisper, because it’s true.

Her face flies to mine and she shuffles in her seat. She tilts her chin toward me, her eyes full of confidence. “Why don’t you?” she says quietly.

Oh. Don’t tempt me, baby. I can’t. Not yet.

“Because I’m not going to touch you, Anastasia—not until I have your written consent to do so.”

“What does that mean?” she asks.

“Exactly what I say. I need to show you, Anastasia.” So you know what you’re getting yourself into. “What time do you finish work this evening?”

“About eight.”

“Well, we could go to Seattle this evening or next Saturday for dinner at my place, and I’ll acquaint you with the facts then. The choice is yours.”

“Why can’t you tell me now?”

“Because I’m enjoying my breakfast and your company. Once you’re enlightened, you probably won’t want to see me again.”

She frowns as she processes what I’ve said. “Tonight,” she says.

Whoa. That didn’t take long.

“Like Eve, you’re so quick to eat from the tree of knowledge,” I taunt her.

“Are you smirking at me, Mr. Grey?” she asks.

I look at her through narrowed eyes.

Okay, baby, you asked for this.

I pick up my phone and press Taylor on speed dial. He answers almost immediately.

“Mr. Grey.”

“Taylor. I’m going to need Charlie Tango.”

She watches me closely as I make arrangements to bring my EC135 to Portland.

I’ll show her what I have in mind…and the rest will be up to her. She may want to come home once she knows. I’ll need Stephan, my pilot, to be on standby so he can bring her back to Portland if she decides to have nothing more to do with me. I hope that’s not the case.

And it dawns on me that I’m thrilled that I can take her to Seattle in Charlie Tango.

It’ll be a first.

“Standby pilot from 22:30,” I confirm with Taylor and hang up.

“Do people always do what you tell them?” she asks, and the disapproval in her voice is obvious. Is she scolding me now? Her challenge is annoying.

“Usually, if they want to keep their jobs.” Don’t question how I treat my staff.

“And if they don’t work for you?” she adds.

“Oh, I can be very persuasive, Anastasia. You should finish your breakfast. And then I’ll drop you off at home. I’ll pick you up at Clayton’s at eight when you finish. We’ll fly up to Seattle.”

“Fly?”

“Yes. I have a helicopter.”

Her mouth drops open, forming a small o. It’s a pleasing moment.

“We’ll go by helicopter to Seattle?” she whispers.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because I can.” I grin. Sometimes it’s just fucking great to be me. “Finish your breakfast.”

She seems stunned.

“Eat!” My voice is more forceful. “Anastasia, I have an issue with wasted food. Eat.”

“I can’t eat all this.” She studies all the food on the table and I feel guilty once more. Yes, there is too much food here.

“Eat what’s on your plate. If you’d eaten properly yesterday, you wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be declaring my hand so soon.”

Hell. This could be a huge mistake.

She gives me a sideways look as she chases her food around on the plate with a fork, and her mouth twitches.

“What’s so funny?”

She shakes her head and pops the last piece of pancake into her mouth, and I try not to laugh. As ever, she surprises me. She’s awkward, unexpected, and disarming. She really makes me want to laugh, and what’s more, it’s at myself.

“Good girl,” I mutter. “I’ll take you home when you’ve dried your hair. I don’t want you getting ill.”