Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian(17)


by E.L. James

Suppressing my excitement, I whisper, “You’re secure. No escaping.” She inhales sharply. “Breathe, Anastasia,” I add, and caress her cheek. Holding her chin, I lean down and kiss her quickly. “I like this harness,” I mutter. I want to tell her I have others, in leather, in which I’d like to see her trussed and suspended from the ceiling. But I behave, sit down, and buckle up.

“Put your cans on.” I point to the headset in front of Ana. “I’m just going through all the preflight checks.” All instruments look good. I press the throttle to 1500 rpm, transponder to stand-by, and position beacon on. Everything is set and ready to go.

“Do you know what you’re doing?” she asks with wonder. I inform her that I’ve been a fully qualified pilot for four years. Her smile is infectious.

“You’re safe with me,” I reassure her, and add, “Well, while we’re flying.” I give her a wink, she beams, and I’m dazzled.

“Are you ready?” I ask—and I can’t quite believe how excited I am to have her here beside me.

She nods.

I talk to the tower—they’re awake—and increase the throttle to 2000 rpm. Once they’ve given us clearance I do my final checks. Oil temperature is at 104. Good. I increase the manifold pressure to 14, the engine to 2500 rpm, and pull back on the throttle. And like the elegant bird she is…Charlie Tango rises into the air.

Anastasia gasps as the ground disappears below us, but she holds her tongue, entranced by the waning lights of Portland. Soon we are shrouded in darkness; the only light emanates from the instruments before us. Ana’s face is illuminated by the red and green glow as she stares into the night.

“Eerie, isn’t it?”

Though I don’t find it so. To me this is a comfort. Nothing can harm me here.

I’m safe and hidden in the dark.

“How do you know you’re going the right way?” Ana asks.

“Here.” I point to the panel. I don’t want to bore her talking about instrument flight rules, but the fact is it’s all the equipment in front of me that guides us to our destination: the attitude indicator, the altimeter, the VSI, and of course the GPS. I tell her about Charlie Tango, and how she’s equipped for night flight.

Ana looks at me, amazed.

“There’s a helipad on top of the building I live in. That’s where we’re heading.”

I look back at the panel, checking all the data. This is what I love: the control, my safety and well-being reliant on my mastery of the technology in front of me. “When you fly at night, you fly blind. You have to trust the instrumentation,” I tell her.

“How long will the flight be?” she asks, a little breathless.

“Less than an hour—the wind is in our favor.” I glance at her again. “You okay, Anastasia?”

“Yes,” she says, her voice oddly abrupt.

Is she nervous? Or maybe she’s regretting her decision to be here with me. The thought is unsettling. She hasn’t given me a chance. I’m distracted by air-traffic control for a moment. Then, as we clear cloud cover, I see Seattle in the distance, a beacon blazing in the dark.

“Look, over there.” I direct Ana’s attention to the bright lights.

“Do you always impress women this way? ‘Come and fly in my helicopter’?”

“I’ve never brought a girl up here, Anastasia. It’s another first for me. Are you impressed?”

“I’m awed, Christian,” she whispers.

“Awed?” My smile is spontaneous. And I remember Grace, my mother, stroking my hair as I read out loud from The Once and Future King.

“Christian, that was wonderful. I’m awed, darling boy.”

I was seven and had only recently started speaking.

“You’re just so…competent,” Ana continues.

“Why, thank you, Miss Steele.” My face warms with pleasure at her unexpected praise. I hope she doesn’t notice.

“You obviously enjoy this,” she says a little later.

“What?”

“Flying.”

“It requires control and concentration.” Two qualities I most enjoy. “How could I not love it? Though my favorite is soaring.”

“Soaring?”

“Yes. Gliding, to the layperson. Gliders and helicopters—I fly them both.”

Perhaps I should take her soaring?

Getting ahead of yourself, Grey.

And since when do you take anyone soaring?

Since when do I bring anyone in Charlie Tango?

ATC refocuses me on the flight path, halting my rogue thoughts as we approach the outskirts of Seattle. We’re close. And I’m closer to knowing whether this is a pipe dream or not. Ana is staring out the window, entranced.

I can’t keep my eyes off her.

Please say yes.

“Looks good, doesn’t it?” I ask, so that she’ll turn and I can see her face. She does, with a huge cock-tightening grin. “We’ll be there in a few minutes,” I add.

Suddenly the atmosphere in the cabin shifts and I have a more heightened awareness of her. Breathing deeply, I inhale her scent and sense the anticipation. Ana’s. Mine.

As we descend I take Charlie Tango through the downtown area toward Escala, my home, and my heart rate increases. Ana starts fidgeting. She’s nervous, too. I hope she doesn’t flee.

As the helipad comes into view, I take another deep breath.

This is it.

We land smoothly and I power down, watching the rotor blades slow and come to a stop. All I can hear is the hiss of white noise over our headphones as we sit in silence. I remove my cans, then remove Ana’s, too. “We’re here,” I say quietly. Her face is pale in the glow of the landing lights, her eyes luminous.

Sweet Lord, she’s beautiful.

I unbuckle my harness and reach over to undo hers.

She peers up at me. Trusting. Young. Sweet. Her delicious scent is almost my undoing.

Can I do this with her?

She’s an adult.

She can make her own decisions.

And I want her to look at me this way once she knows me…knows what I’m capable of. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You know that, don’t you?” She needs to understand this. I want her submission, but more than that I want her consent.

“I’d never do anything I didn’t want to do, Christian.” She sounds sincere and I want to believe her. With those pacifying words ringing in my head, I climb out of my seat and open the door, then jump down onto the helipad. I take her hand as she exits the aircraft. The wind whips her hair around her face, and she looks anxious. I don’t know if it’s because she’s here with me, alone, or if it’s because we’re thirty stories high. I know it’s a giddy feeling being up here.

“Come.” Wrapping my arm around her to shield her from the wind, I guide her to the elevator.

We are both quiet as we make the short journey to the penthouse. She’s wearing a pale green shirt beneath her black jacket. It suits her. I make a mental note to include blues and greens in the clothes I’ll provide if she agrees to my terms. She should be better dressed. Her eyes meet mine in the elevator’s mirrors as the doors open to my apartment.

She follows me through the foyer, across the corridor, and into the living room. “Can I take your jacket?” I ask. Ana shakes her head and clutches the lapels to emphasize that she wants to keep her jacket on.

Okay.

“Would you like a drink?” I try a different approach and decide that I need a drink to steady my nerves.

Why am I so nervous?

Because I want her…

“I’m going to have a glass of white wine. Would you like to join me?”

“Yes, please,” she says.

In the kitchen I slip off my jacket and open the wine fridge. A sauvignon blanc would be a good icebreaker. Pulling out a serviceable Pouilly-Fumé, I watch Ana peer through the balcony doors at the view. When she turns and walks back toward the kitchen I ask if she’d be happy with the wine I’ve selected.

“I know nothing about wine, Christian. I’m sure it will be fine.” She sounds subdued.

Shit. This isn’t going well. Is she overwhelmed? Is that it?

I pour two glasses and walk to where she stands in the middle of my living room, looking every bit the sacrificial lamb. Gone is the disarming woman. She looks lost.

Like me…

“Here.” I hand her the glass, and she immediately takes a sip, closing her eyes in obvious appreciation of the wine. When she lowers the glass her lips are moist.

Good choice, Grey.

“You’re very quiet, and you’re not even blushing. In fact, I think this is the palest I’ve ever seen you, Anastasia. Are you hungry?”

She shakes her head and takes another sip. Maybe she’s in need of some liquid courage, too. “It’s a very big place you have here,” she says, her voice timid.

“Big?”

“Big.”

“It’s big.” There’s no arguing with that; it is more than ten thousand square feet.