I gasp, eyes stretched large in surprise, gaping at him in dismay, “Married? Tonight? But… but what about…?”
My jaw snaps shut with a snap of my teeth, his kind eyes are completely blotted out by a new storm raging in them. Every hair on my body stands on end as I shiver in spite of the heat in the room. Christian’s demeanour has gone arctic, well below zero.
Oh shit, he’s mad!
I watch him with fear knotting in my stomach, I want to explain but he’s so perilously close to the edge. His gravelly voice is laced with scorn, “What about what Anastasia?” he waits, cocking his head with a quick and precise movement, underlying the immense tension in his suddenly rigid back.
This is so sudden and he just sprung it on me – out of the blue. I wish I could get off his lap and put some distance between us so I can clear my head but his firm grip on the back of my neck commands me to stay.
I’ve forgotten that he needs managing, I know I need to disarm this situation – rapidly but now that I’m here I’m too caught up to think straight. “It’s…ah… just sudden.” I’m grateful to see that my stuttering, mumbled reply and the blatant fright in my eyes pierces his anger and I get a glimpse of the truth behind it. He is hurt.
“Why would we wait? I thought you knew what you wanted. Haven’t we wasted enough time?” the residual anger makes his remark biting, challenging.
Mercifully my coping tools come back to me in a rush – affection in defence. I cup his face with both my hands, skating my thumbs over the bristled shadows of his cheeks. “I love you and I do know what I want but there are other people involved, we can’t just elope without telling a soul.” My eyes seek his, gifting him with every reassurance I can muster.
“Is that all you’re protesting about?” he’s gazing at me through slitted lids, not entirely convinced.
“It is,” I state firmly, backing it up with a tender kiss on his delicious mouth.
“Good,” he says thoughtful, “then Vegas it is – tonight.” Now he’s wearing a roguish smile, supremely confident again and now there’s a mischievous sparkle in his eye.
“But…” Did he not hear what I just said?
“Hush.” He cuts me off; the finality of his tone reminds me of his recent irritation. His index finger presses against my lips, the warning clear in his watch. “Do you really think that I’d make arrangements like that without our nearest and dearest?”
“I don’t understand. What do you mean?” my brow puckers, I know I heard what he said but the implication is just too much for me to process. Our nearest and dearest can only be our families – right?
He looks a little sheepish when his gaze breaks away from mine. “Last night, when I was on my way here, when I had to call my parents to ask them to take care of Chris for the night, I mentioned that if things go my way we’d be married by Wednesday – latest.”
Seems I’m a bit of a foregone conclusion.
My jaw goes slack, of all the presumptuous, rash things he could do… I’m desperate to know what their reaction was but an even greater question surges to the forefront, “and my parents?” it’s a breathy whisper spiked with panic and trepidation, barely pushed past my closing throat.
“I didn’t call them last night.” His voice is low and his attention is with me once more. I feel my whole body go limp with relief, phew! After a beat he continues, “I called them this morning.”
This time he lets me jump up, off his lap to have my mild panic attack, “why would you do that? Ray is so mad at me; mom’s only just coming to terms with what I did. They’re not ready for a wedding! What did they say? What did you tell them?” the questions trip off my tongue, falling over themselves to be answered. My brain-to-mouth filter, together with my sweet, post coital glow has gone completely AWOL.
My fists clench at my sides in time with Christian’s jaw, I can see the tight mounds of annoyance pumping the muscles in his cheeks. We glower at each other, eyes drilling and cloudy with mutual ire.
His reply is tight, indicating the level of self-possession necessary to keep his cool, “if you would calm down for just a second we can talk about this like rational people. Don’t think that I won’t take you over my knee if I have to and trust me when I say it won’t be pretty.”
His threat does two things to me – it leaves me downright stunned and secondly; wanton – wet with need for him and his twitching palm. What the hell is wrong with me? For obvious reasons I’m determined to avoid showing him the latter reaction, especially in the light of his recent confession. I just hope that my racing scarlet blush comes across as anger. “I am calm,” I shout, showing that I’m anything but, “and you wouldn’t dare!” my hand flies to my chest, bunching the lapels of my robe together in a vain bid to prove my diffidence.
But alas, he knows me too well and mercurial Christian steals my breath away. He gets up and prowls over to me, eyes suddenly smoking hot, his honeyed voice sliding sinuously through my body, sending my pulse wild. “Frankly it was an easy sell, I was surprised myself but then,” he nails me with a pointed look, “maybe they know what’s best for us and for Chris.” He uncurls my fingers from their grip on my robe, never taking his eyes off mine.
Damn you, perfidious body! Whose side are you on?
“They agreed?” I mean to sound incredulous but end up with husky – again giving away freely that which I’m trying so hard to hide. I swallow aggressively against the escalating desire, pushing my mind to reframe my thoughts so I can concentrate.
I had so many questions, where are they now?
I bite down on the swollen curve of my lip and he makes a rumbling noise deep in his throat. He brings his head down, nipping it out of my teeth’s grip before pressing a firm kiss onto my startled mouth. His hands have worked their way into my robe and I feel them sliding over my shoulders as he pushes it back, opening the lapels.
Oh no you don’t!
In spite of my newly dazed state I still want answers and there’s still the matter of his parents thinking that Christian did the walking and not me. I take a step back but he simply takes a step forward – a wicked, hungry gleam in the depths of his stare. My chest is almost completely exposed, the edges only just covering my budding nipples and when he dips his eyes for a long hard look there’s no mistaking his carnal intent.
I clear my throat and inject a bit of authority into my tone to show him I mean business then I repeat my question. “What did they say?”
“You are so turned on Anastasia it’s driving me nuts. Do you really want to talk about this now?” He looks down at himself, a crooked grin flaunting his pride of yet another waiting erection – poking impetuously at the folds of his robe.
I straighten the front of my robe and retie the belt. “Yes.” It sounds choked and false, he’s right, I am so turned on.
His disbelieving expression is followed by a sexy pout but he relents, “they said that they were happy that we sorted our shit out. They asked me to hold off on the wedding and I declined, explaining that I didn’t want to waste any more time and then they agreed to come to the wedding.” He shrugs, watching for my reaction.
“That’s it?” I can’t believe he charmed my mom and especially Ray into this.
“Pretty much.” He resumes his heated look and starts a trail of kisses along my jaw, inching down my neck. They tingle on my skin and I have to fight to stay focussed.
“What about your parents?” he stops and snaps his head up, I see a flash of something in his darkened look I’m not sure of.
I don’t want him to get mad but I refuse to get married with this hanging over me. It would be way worse if they find out after we were married.
“There’s nothing to tell, they know what it’s been like for me these last five years, I think they feel relieved.” A stubborn line has set on his mouth, he looks terse and weary.
I’m hesitant to confront him about this issue; I can already see that he’s going to dig his heels in on this one, regardless, I push on, “but there is something to tell isn’t there Christian?” my voice is charged with reluctance.
He shakes his head – very slowly, a silent warning that couldn’t have been any clearer if he yelled it at me. The heat creeping up my face makes me wilt under his granite stare and the stubborn line of his lips has turned down – Fifty is not pleased.
I gather every ounce of my will, it would be so easy just to accept it and never speak of it again – take the gift that he obviously wants to give me and hope the truth will never come to light but I don’t want to risk the possible fallout.
I take his hands in mine and under the circumstances I’m grateful that he lets me. Adrenaline has fought off the earlier heat in my belly; I’m left with a cold sobriety – offering an uncluttered head. “I can’t marry you without telling your parents the truth. I know you lied to protect me; that you told them that you were the one who walked out on me.”
His features remain closed – stony and remote, “I just repeated your lie.” He closes his eyes and scrubs a hand over his face then slides it through his hair. “Let it go Anastasia. What does it matter?” he slips his other hand free of my hold and crosses his arms over his chest, defensive.
At first I’m caught up in his tone, it smacks of desolation – like he’s lost his fighting spirit and that would be shocking enough if I didn’t finally register the first part of his statement…
Fuck! He knows what I told my parents and Jose when I left; he knows what I said to buy their cooperation and their silence.
My heart kicks then stammers and my breath whooshes out. The blood heating my face replaced with ice so cold it feels like it burns. “How did you…”
His scowl together with the sarcastic twist of his mouth says “come on” but the query in my eyes persists so he finally answers me, “I figured it out. How else would you get them to shut me out like that?”
Too smart for his own damn good, shit! I was going to tell him, I was just waiting for the right moment and as I think it I realise how hollow it sounds. Stupid!
Too late now – it’s a low blow from my subconscious.
Christian see’s my reaction and catches me just before the black spots dancing before my eyes become total darkness, my knees buckle and my ears pop making everything seem very distant. “Breathe Anastasia!”
His words drag me back and I gulp air like I’ve been drowning. When my brain is saturated with oxygen again he lays me on the couch and strides to the kitchen for a glass of water. On his way back his face is a mask of concern and determination.
I take the water gratefully, warmth returning to me and settling as two, bright red spots of embarrassment high on my cheeks. I can’t believe I almost fainted; I’m beyond annoyed at myself.
He sinks onto the floor next to me and brushes my hair away from my face. His eyes large, marred by the scare he just got. “You okay?”
I shake my head; I know my gaze must be dull as remorse fills me – sticky, stifling, suffocating. “I’m sorry; I didn’t know what else to do.”
“This is why I didn’t bring it up, haven’t we been through enough? We can only go over this so many times and as far as my parents are concerned,” he drops his eyes, pulling his shoulders up, “I knew you were nervous about seeing them again and when that paparazzi article appeared in the Miami Herald, forcing our hand, I did what I thought was best for us.”
He lifts his head and locks onto my stare, his eyes are bright and candid. “I wasn’t going to let anything stand in our way again even if I wasn’t yet ready to admit that I wanted you back.”
I love that he made a conscious decision to try and help me, to smooth the way with his parents but there is just no way I can let them continue to believe this lie. “Oh Christian, I love you.” I slide off the couch and onto his lap to hug him. One hand makes it into his hair and presses his head into my neck and the other anchors him to me from around his waist.
I hear him exhale, like he’s relieved before he reciprocates and crushes my body to his. “Thank you for always thinking about me and what I might need but you know that I can’t let them continue to think that you left me because of Chris.” I break our embrace to seek his face, “it’s not the right thing to do and I’ve done enough of that.”
For a moment he looks like he’s going to argue but then relents, his eyes softening as his irritation retreats. “You never fail to surprise me, one moment you’re so vulnerable and the next so brave.” His hushed, awed tone surprises me and I look down, suddenly shy. My rising blush and bashful smile evidence of how his words moved me.
He tips up my head with a demanding hand fisting in my hair, “I love that blush, don’t hide it from me.” The movement is forceful, hinting at Dominant Christian and it sends my neurons firing in every direction, my skin prickling with awareness of him. My mouth opens for an involuntary gasp but his lush lips stops its escape as his hot mouth moulds to mine.
It escalates quickly, like a fire spurred on by a warm wind it grows ferocious, burning every thought and reservation away until we’re only mouths and hands and groans of pleasure. If I was ever going to come from just a kiss it would be this one.
A rapid knock on the door makes us jump apart, panting with swollen lips and racing pulses. “No more arguing.” Christian’s husky growl increasing the insistent trembling between my legs. All I can do is stare with my eyes big I nod my conformity – my body bereft at the broken contact.
He lifts me off his lap and stands, his movements athletically styled – it’s a blatant, visual reminder of how well he can apply that stunning body. “Vegas. Tonight. Or I’ll make you put “obey” in your wedding vows.” He grumbles passing me a stern look before he strides to the door.
I’ve no doubt that he could make me do exactly that, especially if he’s going to continue to torture me with kisses like that.
A moment later, still overcome and waiting for my hormones to settle I hear Taylor’s reserved greeting, “Ms Steele.”
I’m still sitting on the floor and have to look up to see him, “Hi Taylor.” My smile freezes on my lips when I watch him drop his head so he can’t meet my eye.
I know he’s angry with me but that’s just plain rude!
I look to Christian, astonished by Taylor’s sudden interest in his shoes but he’s wearing an angry scowl, eyes glued to my chest. When I look down, still confused, the reason becomes apparent. My robe is dangerously open, the lapels only just covering my modesty.
Mmhhh, that will be Mr Sexpertise with his clever, sneaky hands….
“Ah!” My hands gather the terry cloth and I drag the folds over my breasts aggressively. “Sorry,” I mutter, my face aflame. Now I couldn’t look him in the eye even if I wanted to.
Christian places a trendy, branded duffel on the couch, “Taylor has brought you something to wear. Get ready, we’ll leave shortly.” He doesn’t wait for my reply and follows Taylor into the study and closes the door.
Oh yes, I don’t have a thing to wear. Memories of Christian ripping the red dress off me swamp my mind and I squeeze my thighs together, hoping to expel the lingering ache. I hope he’s not mad, it’s not my fault he leaves me hanging like that, how is a girl to concentrate?
I push myself up and head for the bathroom but as I walk past the study I hear Christian, he’s obviously furious, “How the fuck did this happen?” his question is punctuated by what I assume is his fist thudding on the desk. I stop and listen intently for Taylor’s reply but I can’t hear a thing.
“Get it sorted!” I can just see him running both hands through his unruly hair. “Fuck!”
I’m relieved that it’s clearly not about me but if not then it has to be a new development in our situation. Christian doesn’t lose it like that for no reason, the only things that get him this mad is me and someone threatening his loved ones.
“Yes, in an hour.” His tone is more measured now and I realise that the conversation is coming to an end. I scamper to the safety of the bathroom but a cold trickle of unease has started to chew at my consciousness.
I brush my teeth and slip into the shower, it doesn’t take long for the cascading water to relax me and just as I’m done soaping myself up I hear the soft click of the shower door behind me.
Christian’s arms curl around me, my back to his front and he buries his nose in my wet hair. “I can watch you do that all day.” His hands start to drift over my slippery curves.
I put my head back, onto his shoulder, “you okay?” More than anything I hope that he’ll be honest and not shut me out.
He stiffens and I explain, “I heard you yell at Taylor.”
“We’ll talk later, I promise, but right now I want to lose myself in you.” It’s all I need to give in to his roaming hands and his prodding erection against my backside.
Okay, maybe there is something I want more…
When I turn I find his look blistering, watching his hands glide across my slick body. I reach for the shower gel and squirt a large dollop onto my hand so I can reciprocate. I start in slow circles on his chest, enjoying my hands skating smoothly over his firm pecks before I inch down to his defined abdominal muscles.
I guess he can see that I’m on a mission of my own because his hands drop away and I hear him hiss, too caught up, he gives himself to me. I take full advantage and push him against the cool tiles. My hands work firmly against him, trailing down ever so slowly. I concentrate on the sexy dents on the side of his hips, then his upper thighs where I can really feel the steel in his tensed muscles.
Wow, this is so hot! I can’t believe Mr Über Control is letting me do this. My inner goddess is beside herself with glee.
My hands and fingers slip and slide everywhere except where I know he wants me to touch him and I love hearing him groan and suck in his breath as I find the places that drive him wild. Every so often I catch his erection twitching brutally, as if to prompt me to touch it.
He’s eyes are closed and I can tell that he’s completely immersed in the sensations. My heart swells at the sight when I realise just how much he must trust me to allow me to do this to him. My waning control crumbles as my need for him overtakes my seduction plans and I drop to my knees. Because he doesn’t see it coming it rips a raw growl from his throat – guttural.
I can feel his body jolt like I’ve shocked him with electricity, his hands fist in my hair, holding my hot mouth onto him. “Fuck, I’m not going to make it baby.”
His husky words hit my heart as hard as it hits my sex. I’m overjoyed at his display of trust and soaked with lust at his dissolving control. Almost out of my mind with need I thrust harder and deeper, a second later swallowing the viscous result of his pleasure as he shudders into my mouth.
He shows his appreciation by dragging me up and ramming his tongue into my mouth. His kiss is aggressive and hungry and it’s my turn to be pushed up against the wall. One hand finds my breast, milking and kneading, the other runs roughly down my body. We gasp into each other’s mouths when he effortlessly sinks a frenzied finger into me. It’s soon joined by a mate and he curls them forward, as if to join his thumb pressing on my clitoris.
My nails dig into the wet flesh of his back as I convulse at the sharp thrusts, the sensation intense enough to rocket me straight into a juddering, soul shattering release.
Our breathing hard he rests his forehead against mine, his hands cup the side of my face but my jellified body is still too weak to hold him back. “Ana,” he breathes – it’s almost pained, he’s gripped with emotion so strong it lacks words to describe. I know this because I feel it too.
I smile and shake my head, at our amazing shared moment as well as the fact that he clearly wants round two.
He smirks when he sees my reaction, raising his brows suggestively at me. “I can never get enough of you.” I beam back, thrilled that he’s happy but unsure if I can manage another whirl with Mr Insatiable.
He laughs, and kisses me sweetly. “Much as I have no qualms in making you come again we don’t have time. Our plane leaves in forty minutes.” He turns me by the shoulders and swats my behind playfully when I step out of the shower. “Hurry along.”
We get dressed and I dry my hair. Christian quickly packs our things back in the duffel and when he’s sure I’m watching, makes a big show of dropping the torn red dress into the trash. He makes a satisfied “it’s done” gesture, brushing his hands together before rewarding me with his full, HD smile.
I can only laugh. In a quick stride he’s by my side and grabs my hand, folding it into his big palms, “I can’t wait to call you Mrs Grey again.” He kisses the back of it and I melt, he’s so buoyant, his enthusiasm contagious and I feel myself getting excited about our wedding. I know whatever he has planned will be special but I’m burning with curiosity.
“Neither can I.” After a wink and a smile from me he leads me out of the suite. In the elevator we peek at each other like idiots, it makes me giggle and he pulls me closer, tucking me under his arm.
Taylor is waiting at the curb, his eyes are distant with tension and the line of his shoulders hard. He opens the door and I wave briefly before ducking in, still embarrassed about my earlier state of undress. I greet Brandon who occupies the front passenger seat.
“Mr Grey, Ms Steele,” he nods back and I immediately sense the same tension rippling off him.
Taylor pulls away from the curb and the Audi glides easily into the lane. Christian has a firm grip on my hand but I can already feel him slipping away from me now that our love bubble is burst. He’s staring through the window, lost in his own world.
I’m determined not to be left in the dark and something is very definitely up. “What’s going on Christian?”
He looks at our joined hands and then to me, “I don’t really want to tell you, I don’t want you to worry.” His thumb is brushing back and forth over my skin.
“I understand but I’m not going to be shut out like this again. It makes me do stupid things because I don’t know what’s really going on.”
He sighs, tapping a frustrated fist on the door before he speaks, “we’ve had another incident.” He seems older as the full weight of the situation bears down on him, “If something were to happen to you or Chris…” I sense him shivering at his own dark thoughts.
He’s still reluctant to tell me but I’m not backing down, especially now that I can see how it’s affecting him. “What happened?”
“Brandon, pass the folder will you?” He leans forward, in-between the two font seats and Brandon hands him a manila folder. He takes it and spreads it out on his lap. He hands me a sheet of paper that looks like a newspaper clipping.
Before I take it I catch his eye, gone is playful, loving Fifty – the barriers are well and truly up, barred with an extra measure of steel.
My gaze swings to the page and recognition is the first thing that dawns. It looks exactly like the photos I found in Christian’s closet when I went searching for his silver grey tie. The image is grainy, but it’s definitely taken from inside Christian’s playroom. Because of the angle it’s impossible to tell for sure who the man is but I’d know his form anywhere – there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s Christian.
The woman is naked, bent over the armrest of the whipping bench, hands bound behind her back and eyes covered with a mask. In her mouth is a ball-gag. Even if you knew her you’d be hard pressed to recognize her. You can make out the angry lines on her buttocks and another one on the way as Christian’s arm is captured in the photo, holding a thin cane, drawn back for the next blow.
My heart is drumming a frantic beat, the ice of anxiety stealing over me as I take in the picture, it really does speak a thousand words. Only then do I sweep my eyes over the rest of the page, the photo is so confronting that I missed the writing underneath even though the heading now has me by the throat:
The many faces of Christian Grey: planet angel or dark daemon?
The green prince seems to have a dark side. Multibillionaire industrialist and business tycoon Christian Grey values his privacy more than most things. A quote that he’s repeated on many occasions and now we know why. Our sources tell us that the leading head of the green industrialist movement in the US has good reason to protect his privacy, it seems his personal, twisted tastes runs even deeper than his pockets. Maybe that’s why his wife ran the first chance she got.
First news underground – we tell it like it is
I can see why he’s concerned.
Be kind and review, please.