All I see is Christian’s unruly mop as his head dips lower between my legs. His usual M.O. is to circle my clitoris with his slick, crackerjack tongue but tonight he’s doing something different and – it’s exquisite!
He presses his tongue flat against me as he laps at me with long strokes. He starts at the bottom and sweeps it upward in lazy, even lengths. Every time he comes up, I catch his eyes, blazing fire with pleasure and thick desire. Fuck! As always the pressure is just right and as he stops and re-connects with me again – there, yes! Right there! – I get a 1000 volt jolt, straight to my core.
I moan, almost scream as he flicks over my whole slit again. I so much want to grab his head and force his tongue to stay on me and stop this maddening teasing but both my wrists and ankles are tied to the bedposts. I buck my pelvis into his face but his leisurely pace doesn’t change. The heel of his right hand is firmly pressed down onto my pubic bone creating a delicious pressure. His left thumb is rubbing slow circles on my inner thigh, my whole being willing him to move it up – just an inch – and slip it inside.
I glimpse his rippling shoulder muscles glistening with his perspiration in the dim light. He’s so freaking hot. Oh…! I’m so close. He senses my quickening and two fingers glide roughly through my wetness and straight to my sweet spot, the other arm snakes up my body where he pinches my nipple and twists violently. I shudder and groan in ecstasy, thrashing my head about as I detonate my release.
Holy fuck! My eyes fly open and I jerk up my torso, vaguely surprised that my restrains aren’t holding me back, where is Christian? My body is covered in sweat and I’m breathing like I’ve run a marathon. I look around confused; I’m alone, in my bedroom, in my apartment. My body’s still weak, jittery from my grinding orgasm, apparently induced by yesterday’s events and my flaming hormones, finding an outlet, the only way it knows how – in a dream.
I flop back onto my bed, grab my pillow and drag it over my face. I force in a deep breath and let out a primal shriek whilst kicking my legs wildly, giving in to my child-like tantrum. The yell morphs into sobs and then hysterical giggles. What am I going to do? My way forward is completely blurred as a flash back of yesterday’s events play through my rattled mind.
The picnic was amazing, Christian was so gentle with Chris, he is such a kind and natural father. We left the park quite late and Taylor drove us straight onto the tarmac of the Miami International airport to board the Grey Enterprises jet. By that time Chris was exhausted. Christian gave him a quick tour, revelling in his innocent, awed excitement; he even let him sit with the pilot for a bit.
By take-off his little eyelids were hanging heavy and low. Christian fussed over him, strapping him securely into the reclined seat and covering him with a soft blanket so that he could sleep. It tugged so hard at my heart that I had to look away at times, unable to watch how, after just one day, he was doting on his son. The melancholy bled like black ink into water.
After a quick, 40 minute flight, one of Christian’s new men met us upon arrival in Savannah. Christian introduced him as Collins. He was a perfect Taylor clone, bristling with efficiency. I briefly brooded over what might have happened to Sawyer. I hoped that I wasn’t the reason for his absence, that Christian didn’t fire him for failing to stop my covert escape but I was grateful that he wasn’t the one to collect us – if Taylor was mad at me, how mad would Sawyer be?
Christian carried a sleeping Chris from the plane straight into the booster seat of yet another waiting SUV. His sleepy eyes remained resolutely shut. That’s what a day of fresh air and excitement will do for you when you’re four. The thought had me smiling, warming my heart.
Collins drove to my mom’s house without the aid of any directions from us and dropped her off. My subconscious took the opportunity to remind me that Christian was indeed the ultimate stalker and I shrugged, undaunted – it’s not like I didn’t know.
I gave mom a bear hug and I felt her warmth along with her well wishes for me in our embrace. She knew how edgy I felt about Christian visiting our home.
The next stop was mine and the churning in my belly told me exactly how anxious I really was. All too soon Collins parked in front of my building and carried our bags up to the fourth floor. Christian lifted our son from the car and held him close, Chris’ head resting on his broad shoulder.
In an effort to dispel my angst I started jabbering as we walked. Even to my own ears I sounded overly chipper as I told him about Jo-Anne, the neighbour to the right of us. I mentioned that she had a son, the same age as Chris and how they were best friends – like only children can be. I stumbled through a list of all the good things I could tally about the building, that we’ve never had problems with crime and that it was well maintained – all the while feeling unreasonably defensive of the home I’ve made for us.
What will Christian think? The pressure was eating away at me.
At the front door I fumbled clumsily with the keys and wondered where the flowers I ordered were. I was expecting them to be waiting, ready to put me back on an even keel, restore the balance of power between us and maybe gain a clue to the depth of his reticence about our relationship. Oh well, nothing I can do about that now.
Collins placed our bags in the hallway, nodded his goodbye and left to wait in the car. I quickly made my way to Chris’ room with Christian tailing behind. I turned down his bed and closed the curtains. Christian laid him down, ever so gently. He just stirred and turned on his side, still far away in the land of nod. I pulled off his shoes and Christian asked if he could tuck him in and sit with him for a while.
“Sure,” I said and smiled to hide another lump I had to swallow past. I scurried to the kitchen to do some deep breathing and find my collected self. I made a pot of tea and started on coffee for Christian when he joined me in the kitchen.
The atmosphere between us was awkward and my conversation stilted: “Uhm,” I cleared my throat grappling for something to say. “Thank you for a lovely day and for dropping us back home.” I had my back turned to him but I heard him pull out a chair, taking a seat at the cosy kitchen table.
“You’re welcome Anastasia.” His tone was soft, hesitant and I could feel his eyes burning into my back.
I joined him at the table and we nursed our drinks, staring at nothing, lost in a maze of jumbled, hesitant thoughts.
“What’s wrong Anastasia?” His index finger slipped under my chin and he lifted my gaze to meet his.
I closed my eyes for a beat and basked in the small point of contact between us. I sighed, “I’m so confused Christian.” I answered him honestly and shook my head, “I understand your reservations, why you turned me down,” my look dipped down, studying my knotted fingers. “I know how much it hurt but why…” I faltered; too coy to say it out loud.
In that moment I seriously doubted my ability to read him, maybe I had misread the signs and he’d scoff at my presumption. I drew a bolstering breath, mustering all my courage as I squared my shoulders, “why are you so flirty with me?” I locked onto his eyes, pleading with him. “You’re… leading me on, torturing me.” I breathed, my face instantly blooming into a blush as I uttered the question that’s been nipping at my mind.
“Anastasia,” he began, running a hand through his silky hair and his grey look turned darker, “I can’t hide my attraction to you any more than you can hide yours from me. What’s the point?” He shrugged in resignation and continued: “we both know it’s there, we feel it all the time.” He was still watching me closely, looking to read the responding cues on my face.
“We torture each other,” he leant back against the chair, gaze still intent, “it’s always been like that with us.” His mouth set in an uncompromising line.
I started to shake my head no, but he interjected: “you torture me by defying me and I torture your body.” His head inclined to the side, the words tripped of his tongue in such a casual manner that he could have been talking about the weather.
“But.., but if that’s how you feel, why can’t we try?” the pleading desperation in my voice was very thinly veiled. I stopped my heart and breath while I waited for his reply.
He snorted, “I may not doubt your attraction to me Anastasia,” his brow quirked and offered me a pointed stare, “but your long-term staying power – that’s another story.” His full mouth twisted into a wry smile and he broke the lock of our eyes, the pain too close to the surface for him while he shook his head, compounding his refusal even further.
It was like an icy wind that swept through my entire body, chilling as the blood drained from my veins. My heartbeat was suddenly sprinting; was he saying that there was no hope for us, ever?
A knock on the door made us both jump and his brows shot up in surprise. “I’m not expecting anyone,” I quickly replied to the question his eyes held; my tone a little defensive and weary of the subtle anger I thought saw lurking there.
“Yohoo darling, are you decent? Yohoo?” The familiar throaty voice was echoing through my small apartment.
Uh-oh! It’s my other neighbour, Miss Dee, the one I neglected to mention because I wasn’t sure how Christian would feel about us living next door to a six foot two transvestite. I pushed back my chair and made for the passage in an attempt to head her off but her long legs closed the distance way too quickly and she caught us in the kitchen.
“My daahling! You look fab, welcome back!” She air kissed me in her exaggerated manner and shoved a lovely bouquet of flowers into my hands. “These came for you daahling, thought I’d keep them safe for you.” Her purple taloned hand batted playfully in my direction and she gave me a salacious wink teamed with a broad, super white smile.
Ah, the flowers I ordered for myself.
“Dee!” I said, overly bright, “thank you! Look at you!” I gave her an appreciative once-over. She was wearing the skimpiest of purple lycra dresses and her blonde wig was a mass of curls. Her eye make-up matched the colour of her outfit exactly and the glitter platform shoes added at least another 10 inches to her already towering height.
She was a wonderful, warm person and I could truthfully say that I liked and trusted her. She worked as a computer geek in the day, which usually only started somewhere after 1pm. If you saw her then she could probably pass as a fairly regular guy, lounging about in sweats, her face displaying a roguish stubble but at night, she lived her true passion as she transformed herself into Miss Dee Licious for her evening show at some trendy drag club.
“Dee, this is my friend Christian.” I didn’t dare use her full stage name, I was hoping that he wouldn’t notice that she really was a he but I thought it unlikely, Christian usually didn’t miss much.
My subconscious was quick to point out her prominent Adam’s apple, the ever-present five o’ clock shadow and her masculine build, no way was Christian going to think she’s a girl. She folded her arms across her chest and sneered nastily at me.
Miss Dee’s long lashed, sparkly eyes turned to Christian and lit up with delight and curiosity. She cheekily wolf whistled straight at him, “what a delicious morsel Ana, where have you been hiding this fine, fine man?” She pointed an index finger at him, flicking it up and down in a zigzag motion as she devoured him with her eyes.
Christian stood and extended a hand to shake hers, his expression thankfully bemused. “A pleasure Miss Dee,” his reply was polite before he shot a quick glance in my direction.
“Why hello there, mh, mh, mmhh! It’s Miss Dee Licious daahling.” She drew the words out, squeezing as much flirtation into them as she could. She took his hand but instead of shaking it she turned hers up so that there was no doubt that she wanted him to kiss the back of it.
To Christian’s credit, he hesitated only for a second before giving her an exaggerated, extravagant kiss on the back of her hand, bowing his head slightly. His stunning eyes had softened and were light with amusement. I had to stifle a fit of giggles thrashing to burst out.
“Hmm, hmm!” She smacked her lips in approval and threw her sheer purple scarf over her shoulder. “Did you send these lovely flowers? You should be careful, don’t spoil the girl so much sugar, she’ll start expecting it from you!” she gave a throaty, roaring laugh at her own joke, winking at me while she patted my arm good-naturedly.
From that moment our day took a swift nosedive. Christian’s expression turned from amused to sour in a nanosecond, “no, unfortunately that pleasure was not mine.” His voice was gruff and his eyes precipitously cold. With hostility vibrating off him he tilted his head in question to me, expecting an explanation.
“Oooh, an admirer!” If she heard the change in his tone she ignored it and made an exited grab for the card before I could even think of taking it. I cringed and flushed every shade of red.
“Welcome home – from: you know who,” she read it out loud and turned the card over to check the back. “It’s got two kisses girlfriend!” She was buzzing with excitement on my behalf. “Who’s the lucky man that’s captured the ice queen’s heart?” She speculated suggestively, teasing me only because she knew that I didn’t date and Christian snorted sarcastically at the mock nickname.
I took the cups to the sink to hide my scarlet mask, “ah, just a friend.” I called over my shoulder as I tried frantically to sound nonchalant, unaffected. Did I really think this was a good idea?
“Well, it’s about time! A fine little thing like you can’t sit on the shelf forever!” another throaty laugh from her and my mortification was complete, glowing on my face and my ears. She had no idea of the history between us and all the heavy, unsaid things filling the room so I couldn’t be mad but I knew the time had come to get rid of her.
“Are you on your way to your show?” It was a blatant attempt to change the subject, steering it away from my non-existent love life.
“I sure am honey, it’s good to have you back, tell the little prince I’ll see him tomorrow,” her eyes crinkled at the corners and she smiled a warm smile mentioning Chris.
She turned to Christian pointing a long nail at his chest. “You better move fast honey, if this one,” she jabbed her thumb over her shoulder at me, “is interested in someone, I think he’ll be pretty special. You’ve got yourself some stiff competition.” She put both hands on her hips, persuasive in her particular brand of romantic advice.
It’s was my turn to splutter and I found a renewed urgency to get her out. I took her by her muscly upper arm and curled my mouth into a grin I wasn’t feeling. With more force than I intended I started to steer her out of the kitchen. Fortunately she went willingly while she waved her goodbye back over her shoulder. “Bye daahling, I’m just next door if she won’t give you any lovin’!” She roared with that raspy laugh and wiggled her waving fingers.
Back in the kitchen I found a cool Christian leaning against the counter, both hands on the edge of the top, arms bent at the elbows. His long legs were stretched out on front of him and crossed at the ankles; his burning intensity was seriously opposing his casual demeanour.
“Nice neighbour,” he said dryly.
I was shaking in my boots, speculating about the level of his anger? “I like her,” I kept my reply even, my voice low and my eyes away from his.
“Are you seeing someone Anastasia?” His voice took on that whispering quality that he assumes when he went thermo but trying very hard to supress it. He was cutting straight to the chase.
I felt a fearful shiver scrape down my spine as I swung my gaze to his, my head cocked to the side. “No, I’m not. He’s just a friend.” I hope the lie wasn’t apparent; I also couldn’t miss the dangerous fury in his eyes even if I wanted to.
“Like Jose was just a friend?” He spat at me, face distorted with distaste.
Oh crap! I didn’t want to dwell on Jose! I shook my head and bit my lip; fear had stolen my voice, all I could do was stare at him, holding out for the fallout.
I could virtually hear the cogs turning and grinding in his head as he considered the repercussions of not taking me back, of me being free to see someone else. The internal war he was having was spilling across his features but he played it unruffled – always in control.
“You can see who you want,” his sculpted mouth bent into a disapproving line as one hand waved me off, dismissively. Still the relaxed arrangement of his body looked unaffected but his eyes were scorching with hostility and he’s jaw muscles were working overtime, bunching at the sides of his face as he clenched repeatedly.
My inner goddess rubbed her hands together and grinned, he’s jealous, he wants us! But my subconscious snapped at her, at what cost, you overeager fool?
“Don’t you date?” The hint of irritation in my tone wasn’t intentional but his reaction surprised me, he was no monk.
He regarded me coolly for an unbearable minute before he spoke in a menacing baritone, “I see that you’re still not listening to me.” He let the words hang between us, never taking his focus off me while he waited for me to find some unknown comprehension.
When it became clear to him that I wasn’t going to get whatever sublingual message he was sending me, he answered with a flat, low note, “no Anastasia, I don’t.”
No dating or no sex I wondered but my inner girls were both shaking their heads at me, don’t go there!
Of course I couldn’t heed their advice, I was too curious to stop. I simply had to know, “not even a comely, compliant little submissive?” There was no way I could keep the jealous sneer in my words from showing, too much at stake in his answer. It was like watching a car wreck, no matter how horrified you were, you could not look away.
“For fuck’s sake Anastasia!” two riled hands took their familiar path through his hair, “have you any idea..?” His voice was raised but he trailed off, shaking his head in frustration or disgust, I couldn’t tell.
I could see his aggravation, pulsing through his now rigid pose as he gave me glimpse of the state of his soul and it was clear that I was to blame. A bout of fresh shame had gripped my heart in its merciless claw.
“I have to go, Collins is waiting.” The flash of vulnerability he had on display a second ago was now replaced with a curt inflexibility. He head for the door and I followed him meekly where his annoyance was amped up by the fact that it wasn’t locked. “This door should be locked,” he barked at me with a thunderous frown.
I withered and wilted under his scolding gaze and nodded my acquiescence, “okay.” The whisper was so faint that he might not have heard it.
“I’ll be in touch.” His tall frame was filling my doorway and I risked a peek at him through my lashes. I was expecting him to turn and leave but he lingered, seemingly rooted. I knew that he was sensing the current between us – sparking wildly. Lust, anger and frustration were all brewing and shaping a powerful force field around us and we were both trapped in it, watching each other with parted lips but neither willing to bend to the other’s will.
His brow creased as he remembered himself, consciously unplugging from our mutual generator. He gave me an abrupt nod, swivelled on his heal and strode away with a determined and restored purpose. He didn’t look back.
I slipped inside and locked the door, leaning my forehead forward and resting it on the door. Slowly I banged my head against the wood in measured thuds, producing a satisfying knock that underlined the pounding in my confused, sorry-ass of a brain.
That was how our day, that held so much promise, ended. Christian and I – mad at each other again and me – conjuring up orgasms in my sleep, born from unrequited sexual tension. I wished that I could kick the crap out of something.
x x x x x x x
Okay, enough with the wallowing! I castigate myself and swing out of bed only to realise how early it is, far too early to be up. I amble to the kitchen, hoping that a cup of tea will make the prospect of my day look less bleak. There’s no way I’ll I be able to go back to sleep. The apartment is quiet, empty with Chris asleep and I contemplate getting some work done, I still need to go through my contract. It dawns on me that Christian never committed to helping me and my low spirits take a further dive. Why should he?
I jab at the on button of my laptop and reach for the fat sheath of papers that make up the details of my future relationship with the BTB publishing company. I was so excited about this deal but in my current frame of mind it all just seems like a big chore. I feel flat and unmotivated and I absentmindedly click on my e-mail icon, fully aware that I’m stalling.
Two heart skipping beats later I look again to make sure I’m not hallucinating. I have an e-mail from Christian! Cautiously I open it, mindful that it may sting.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Past events
Date: 17 October 2016 23:52
To: Anastasia Steele
I regret the way we left things this evening. As always I lose all reason around you and it’s not conducive to us rebuilding any sort of relationship. I enjoyed spending time with Chris and I sincerely hope that we can come to a mutual agreement regarding visiting rights. I understand that he’s still young and that you would have to accompany him if he is to visit me in Seattle. He barely knows me but I very much want to rectify that. I will cover all travel expenses and once your book deal is signed, you could work anywhere, so traveling shouldn’t pose a problem.
I will gladly help you with the negotiations surrounding your contract. Please forward the relevant documents to me and we can discuss it, maybe via Skype. However, I would still prefer Grey Publishing to take you on, that way I know we can ensure that you and your work get the best possible service. Please also forward me your manuscript for my perusal.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Oh boy! Christian – the king of mixed messages! He loses all reason around me, is that good or bad I ponder. He enjoyed spending time with Chris but doesn’t mention me. Can I infer from that, that he didn’t enjoy spending time with me? But the thing that really gets me, the thing that leaps off the page at me is the fact that he’s used those words: “visiting rights”. I can’t help but feel the underlying legal threat implicit in that term. Facing Christian in court over a custody battle, I would rather eat glass! The cold hand of fear grips my heart and freezes my blood. He wouldn’t, would he?
I drag my mind away from that horrific thought. The plus side is the help with the contract but deep down I know that he’s agreeing because of some misplaced notion that I always need rescuing. Well, in this case I do need help, but still, I don’t want to feel like a child whose all-knowing dad (only Christian isn’t my dad) needs to bail her out – again.
I rest my head in my hands; it’s heavy with unresolved thoughts. He would still be in the air; on his way home. This e-mail was sent shortly after he left me last night. At least it gives me a bit of time to think about my reply.
List time I think; whenever I have a really big decision to make I make a list. It helps me see a clear path forward. I look at the facts as they stand at this point in time and I make a resolution not to overthink things.
- Christian is attracted to me.
- He likes Chris and wants to spend more time with him which also means time with me.
- He is Chris’ father, a role that he seemed to have embraced.
- He thinks there is someone hanging around in my romantic background and it makes him jealous.
- He’s offered to help me with my book deal.
- He’s is not in a relationship with another woman.
- He doesn’t trust me.
Seeing it written down like that it becomes abundantly clear that, apart from the last point, we have everything going for an eventual reconciliation. The trust problem, I must admit, is a big one. Christian values that more than most things. In spite of our undeniable magnetism he’s managed very well to keep his distance – way too well if you ask me.
Can’t blame him can you? It’s the harpy again, pointing out the obvious.
I remember when I first started seeing Christian, in the very early days when we were still discussing contracts and limits. I was so drawn to him and flattered by his interest. I recall being awed by his prowess but I felt intimidated by him and even though I trusted him in the bedroom, I didn’t trust him not to break my heart.
He kept pushing me to open up so that he could get to know me and build my trust in him. Even after I left the first time, he went out of his way to re-establish the trust between us; he found a new way for us to be together.
I’m having a moment; I see what I need to do. I have to do what he did in a way that he relates too. When I took punishment off the menu he simply reinvented the rules that governed our relationship. I need to draw up a contract, like what he wanted me to sign but this time, it will be about what he can expect from me, what I will do to gain and keep his trust. Something that shows my commitment to our relationship, a promise that he can keep me to.
Yes! I feel a calmness and direction settle over me, this is a solid idea and I love the intimate reference it will make to our past, our shared history. A damn fine idea indeed.