She gazes at my outfit; my sweater, hiking boots, and her eyes linger a little too long on my jeans. I’m pleased.
“Mr. Grey,” she manages to breathe. Questioning.
“I was in the area. I need to stock up on some items,” I say by the way of explaining. She’s biting her lip again, flushing.
“Of course Mr. Grey,” She stutters first, then putting on her employee smile she asks, “What can I help you with?”
“I need some cable ties,” I say smiling. What I can do with those to you I think as my gaze darkens. She flushes all over again. She leads the way. She then helps me find masking tape, and rope. She asks me if I’m redecorating. I smile my secret smile. No baby, I don’t redecorate. I have people to do that. These are for other DIY projects which you probably never tried. But how fun it would be to teach you!
She blushes under my gaze again. She’s just as affected by me as I am of her. I have to ask her something to keep her engaged.
“Have you worked here long?” Though I already know the answer to my question. Four years, part time. She answers in the affirmative, her eyes are still cast down and shy. She shows me two different kinds of masking tape. I choose the wider one.
“Anything else Mr. Grey?” she asks me in a breathy husky voice. Yes, she’s definitely affected by my presence. I find myself replying in the same tone. When she later cuts the filament rope with the efficiency of a boy scout, I ask her if she ever was a girl scout gazing at her intently. She blushes again, and in that nervous action, she looks down at her hands and rings her fingers as if the squeeze out some water. “No, Mr. Grey,” she says, “organized group activities aren’t my thing. I’m not into that,” she dares a peak under her long lashes. It’s frustrating trying to decipher her. I ask, “What exactly is your thing Anastasia?” I ask in a low voice. She gasps slightly at my question. I think I already know the answer. I bet its books.
“Books,” she whispers, but her longing look says something else blushing. Dare I say Bronte and Jane Austen?
“What kind of books?” I ask interested but knowing the answer.
“The British classics, the usual,” she whispers. I’m thinking she’s all hearts and flowers. Is this for me? I don’t do hearts and flowers. I rub my chin contemplating her response. But if it works, we just might have a lot of fun. I would love to try. She changes the subject going back to the employee mode.
“Is there anything else you need Mr. Grey?”
I need to get her engaged in talking to me. She’s beguiling me. I can’t take my eyes off of her; everything she does, her lip biting, her squirming and wringing her fingers just making me want to reach out to her, tie those hands up, and capture that lip in mine, and teach that mouth some lessons.
Then we hear her name called by a guy, “ANA!” Some preppy dressed guy coming to her knowingly. Is he her boyfriend? I get the chills all of a sudden, and almost have an urge to beat the crap out of that guy. Who the hell is he? She excuses herself, and goes to him. I narrow my eyes. Maybe I made a mistake by coming. He hugs her, and drapes his arm possessively over her, but she doesn’t reciprocate. I gaze at him glacially. Maybe they’re not involved. She drags the fucker with her back to where I stand.
“Mr. Grey, this is Paul. His brother owns this place. I’ve known him for a long time; but I only rarely see him as he goes to Princeton studying Business Administration,” looking at me expectantly. I slowly let out a sigh of relief. The fucker is not the boyfriend, but the owner’s brother. While measure each other out, Anastasia adds, “Paul, this is Christian Grey.” It takes him a second to realize who I am, and I can see his reveries change into one of admiration and awe. Yes, fucker, let go off her now, and skedaddle to the hole you crawled out of! He asks me if I need anything.
“Anastasia has been very accommodating,” I say my eyes narrowing coolly dismissing him. He finally gets the point and leaves. I don’t know why I feel this pang of jealousy. I’m not familiar with this emotion, and it is an uneasy one. Why did I feel jealous, and proprietary towards her? She’s nothing to me. Yet… I would like her to be something to me.
“How’s the article coming along Anastasia?” I ask. She looks surprised raising her eyes to mine. I don’t want to be dismissed, I want to engage her.
“Oh, Kate… I mean, Miss Kavanagh, my roommate is writing it. She is devastated that she didn’t get to interview you. She wishes she had some stills of you though.”
That surprises me and gives me hope that perhaps I can find a way to see Anastasia again. She can see the gleam in my eyes.
“Really?” I say, “Perhaps tomorrow I can be available. I’m staying here locally.” I fish out my business card out of my wallet, and hand it to her our hands briefly touching with the same jolt of electricity making me gasp slightly darkening my eyes. I have the same effect on her. “You need to call me before 10:00 a.m.”
She’s pleasantly surprised and she gives me the biggest smile brightening her already bright blue eyes to a new shine taking my breath away. She really has the most beautiful smile.
“Yes, we will. Kate would be so happy!” she says excitedly.
I decide to answer some emails as my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number. Who the hell is this? I’m in a bad temper. I answer curtly:
“Miss Steele. How nice to hear from you.” I almost thought she wasn’t going to call. I’m relieved. I hear her breath hitch. I feel elated to have that effect on her. I’m grinning like an idiot. I tell her that I’m staying at Heathman in Portland and we decide to do the shoot at nine thirty in the morning. When she says “Okay, we’ll see you there,” all breathy and excited, I feel my eyes darken and unable to wait until tomorrow, “I look forward to it, Miss Steele,” I say with laced seduction. My subconscious says “you are mine!”
I get up and go to the gym again to work out to pass the time. After my workout, I take a long shower and put on my white shirt with an open collar, and my grey trademark flannel pants hanging low on my hips. I eat my breakfast quickly, and let my hair on its own volition, leaving it wet. She calls me letting me know that they’re occupying another suite in the hotel for the shoot. Taylor waits by the door.
My gaze seeks her as soon as I enter the suite. There she stands in low rise jeans hugging her curves tightly with a white shirt showing her shape beautifully. I feel her breath hitch when her gaze captures mine, and she gives me a discreet once over.
“Miss Steele, we meet again,” I say extending my hand to receive her small pale hand. With her touch I feel the same jolt of electricity palpate between us, and I know she feels it too, as her blinking increases rapidly. She’s blushing and her breathing gets erratic. She gathers her hand all too soon and introduces her roommate who is as I expected, no nonsense, sure of herself, domineering. Like me.
“The tenacious Miss Kavanagh. How do you do?” I say, and thank my lucky stars in my head that it was Anastasia that came, and not her. She’s beautiful enough, but I wouldn’t like her one bit.
Anastasia then introduces the photographer saying, “This is Jose Rodriguez, our photographer.” She smiles at him lovingly and he back at her, possessive. I feel anger building inside me. Is this fucker her boyfriend?
“Mr. Grey,” the fucker nods.
“Mr. Rodriguez,” I say glacially. I sit and stand for the photo shoot all the while gazing and looking at Anastasia. I have to find out if one of these two fuckers I’ve met in the last two days is her boyfriend. They were both possessive of her. About thirty minutes later we’re done, and we say out niceties to each other with Kavanagh, and I turn to Anastasia asking, “Will you walk with me, Miss Steele?”
“Sure,” she says anxious while the friend is suspicious and the fucking photographer scowling. Boyfriend rings on my head. I have to find out. I don’t do “sharing”. She has to be mine.
I open the door and allow her out. “Would you join me for coffee this morning?” I keep the expectancy out of my gaze, but, I can feel her heartbeat increasing and her face going pink. Yes, baby, this is a date. (←Glad you came - by The Wanted)
“Please take Miss Kavanagh, the photographer, his assistant and their equipment to where they need to go.” Then I turn to her and say, “see, resolved.”
“Ok, let’s do coffee” she says flushing scarlet red. Her color makes me smile like the Cheshire cat. We have small talk on the way to the elevators. I press the button to call the elevator. As the door opens, a couple who have been making out spring apart looking anywhere but each other. What is it with elevators? Anastasia is flushed and embarrassed. I keep my gaze on Anastasia, watching the lovely red color creep up her shy face again, while I maintain to keep my smile away…barely. As the elevator dings reaching the first floor, I grab Anastasia’s hand, and walk out of the elevator. We hear the couple giggle behind us as I mutter “what is it with the elevators?”
We cross the street to a coffee shop her hand in mine with the jolt of electricity a constant thrum between us. I let her choose a table and ask her what she would like.
“English breakfast tea, bag out.” She says surprising me. So, no coffee. Apologetically she indicates that she’s not keen on coffee. When I go to get the drinks and something to eat, I find her gazing at me surreptitiously, and occasionally biting her lips. When I come back to the table, she brings her gaze down to her knotted fingers flushing. I would love to find out what she is blushing about. Me, I hope.
“Penny for your thoughts?” I say.
“What are you thinking?”
She’s not giving anything away. “This is my favorite kind of tea, I like it black and weak” she says. I have to get to the point and put myself out of misery, because I can’t bear it anymore.
“No,” she gushes, “he’s just a good friend. More like family really.”
“I see,” I cut her, “how about the boy from the store?” I get to the point.
“No he isn’t. I told you that yesterday,” she says. I give an inward sigh of relief.
“Why do you ask?” she quizzes me.
“You get nervous around men,” I observe. She looks at her knotted fingers again, flushing once more.
“I just find you intimidating,” she confesses, though I realize she says that without thinking because she blushes all the way to her hairline, but not before I take a sharp intake of breath. I do affect her; the thought pleases me, and I can’t help but smile.
“I am intimidating, but please don’t look down. I like to see your face,” I say, and kiss that mouth of yours that you’ve been biting. She looks up.
She looks baffled.
I tell her that when she blushes, I know she’s thinking something, but I don’t know what exactly. She asks me if I always make personal observations. I didn’t know I was. Wasn’t she making personal observations about me last week? She shocks me by saying, I’m high handed. How right you are baby!
I ask her if she would like to visit. She brightens, and says, “To Paris? Of course. But, it’s England I would really like to visit.” I bet I can guess why. My index finger grazes my lower lip, as she looks like she’s barely stopping herself from panting. “Why?” I coax her.
“Austen, Bronte, Shakespeare, Hardy. I like to see the places that inspired my favorite authors,” she says without blinking. Hearts and flowers as I suspected. She looks at her watch. She wants to go to study her finals. I offer her to walk her to Miss Kavanagh’s car. She thanks me for the tea. Oh, the pleasure is all on me, I smile. I hold my hand out to her, and she automatically hands it to me once again the current flowing between us. We both stroll back towards the hotel both lost in thought. I love the way her ass looks in those jeans, and without thinking I ask her, “Do you always wear jeans?”
“Mostly.” She answers confused. Suits her. Very very well. Just as we stroll to the parking lot, she blurts out, “Do you have a girlfriend?” all flushing, because I think she spoke her thought out loud. I give her a half smile.
“No, Anastasia. I don’t do the girlfriend thing,” I answer softly.
She’s confused, of course. A flicker of thought passes her face without any words. She has a disappointed look on her face and tries to let go of my hand, walking ahead and tripping headlong onto the street. I find myself shouting, “Shit, Ana!” as I yank her hand to get her upright as a bicyclist nearly missing hitting her as I pull her to my body as tight as possible. I feel her inhaling my scent as I get a whiff of her soft feminine smell of her hair and skin. I close my eyes momentarily whisper at her ear, “Are you okay?” while grasping the small of her back with one hand, and trying to make sure she’s ok and has no scratches on her face with the other. I brush her lower lip with my thumb as a shiver runs through my body. Her breath is caught. We lock gazes, and she is intently looking at me, her body and gaze are saying “kiss me.”
She’s lovely, and I am fighting against myself to control my urges to pull her the remaining inch and kiss her. I briefly close my eyes, and when I open them I’m determined. She’s too young, too innocent, too lovely. She’s not for my world.
“Breathe Anastasia, okay? I’ll let you stand, and let you walk.” She has disappointment, and hurt on her face. She opens her blue eyes as wide as possible as to not let any tears pooling behind to escape.
“For saving me,” she says nearly in tears.
I’m furious at the fucker who nearly drove over her. “It was that idiot’s fault, not yours! Do you want me to take you to the hotel lobby and sit with you?”
“What Christian?” she snaps, my name a prayer on her tongue. No, I can’t do that to her. I take a small breath and say, “Good luck with your exams,” confusing her.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
I turn back to the hotel. I have to punch something, someone, something… I am full of emotions I’m not familiar with. I can’t get her face off of my head. The look… The hurt… Fuck! It’s all my fault… I don’t do the girlfriend thing and she’s not the kind of girl who would do what I want! I’m in a fucking conundrum and I have some unknown desire, some pull towards her, and I don’t want to hurt her. She will get hurt. She’s too innocent. It won’t work with her! The battle in my head rages. How would I know it won’t work if I don’t try?
Fuck this! I’ll give myself another day. See if I can work this out in my head. Fuck! I call Claude Bastille and ask him to get his ass to Portland. I need serious workout.
Tomorrow. I will wait till tomorrow.