Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(10)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(10)
Author: E.L. James

"Your thoughts?" he prompts me.

"This is my favorite tea." My voice is quiet, breathy. I simply can't believe I'm sitting opposite Christian Grey in a coffee shop in Portland. He frowns. He knows I'm hiding something. I pop the teabag into the teapot and almost immediately fish it out again with my teaspoon. As I place the used teabag back on the side plate, he cocks his head gazing quizzically at me.

"I like my tea black and weak," I mutter as an explanation.

"I see. Is he your boyfriend?"

Whoa... What

"Who?"

"The photographer. Jose Rodriguez."

I laugh, nervous but curious. What gave him that impression?

"No. Jose's a good friend of mine, that's all. Why did you think he was my boyfriend?"

"The way you smiled at him, and he at you." His gray gaze holds mine. He's so unnerving. I want to look away but I'm caught - spellbound.

"He's more like family," I whisper.

Grey nods slightly, seemingly satisfied with my response, and glances down at his blueberry muffin. His long fingers deftly peel back the paper, and I watch, fascinated.

"Do you want some?" he asks, and that amused, secret smile is back.

"No thanks." I frown and stare down at my hands again.

"And the boy I met yesterday, at the store. He's not your boyfriend?"

"No. Paul's just a friend. I told you yesterday." Oh, this is getting silly. "Why do you ask?""You seem nervous around men."

Holy crap, that's personal. I'm just nervous around you, Grey.

"I find you intimidating." I flush scarlet, but mentally pat myself on the back for my candor, and gaze at my hands again. I hear his sharp intake of breath.

"You should find me intimidating," he nods. "You're very honest. Please don't look down. I like to see your face."

Oh. I glance at him, and he gives me an encouraging but wry smile.

"It gives me some sort of clue what you might be thinking," he breathes. "You're a mystery, Miss Steele.

MysteriousMe?

"There's nothing mysterious about me."

"I think you're very self-contained," he murmurs.

Am IWow... how am I managing that This is bewildering. Me, self-contained?

No Way.

"Except when you blush, of course, which is often. I just wish I knew what you were blushing about." He pops a small piece of muffin into his mouth and starts to chew it slowly, not taking his eyes off me. And as if on cue, I blush. Crap!

"Do you always make such personal observations?"

"I hadn't realized I was. Have I offended you?" He sounds surprised.

"No," I answer truthfully.

"Good."

"But you're very high-handed," I retaliate quietly.

He raises his eyebrows and, if I'm not mistaken, he flushes slightly too.

"I'm used to getting my own way, Anastasia," he murmurs. "In all things."

"I don't doubt it. Why haven't you asked me to call you by your first name?" I'm surprised by my audacity. Why has this conversation become so seriousThis isn't going the way I thought it was going to go. I can't believe I'm feeling so antagonistic towards him.

It's like he's trying to warn me off.

"The only people who use my given name are my family and a few close friends.

That's the way I like it."

Oh. He still hasn't said, 'Call me Christian.' He is a control freak, there's no other explanation, and part of me is thinking maybe it would have been better if Kate had interviewed him. Two control freaks together. Plus of course she's almost blonde - well, strawberry blonde - like all the women in his office. And she's beautiful, my subconscious reminds me. I don't like the idea of Christian and Kate. I take a sip of my tea, and Grey eats another small piece of his muffin.

"Are you an only child?" he asks.

Whoa... he keeps changing direction.

"Yes."

"Tell me about your parents."

Why does he want to know thisIt's so dull.

"My mom lives in Georgia with her new husband Bob. My stepdad lives in Montesano."

"Your father?"

"My father died when I was a baby."

"I'm sorry," he mutters and a fleeting troubled look crosses his face.

"I don't remember him."

"And your mother remarried?"

I snort.

"You could say that."

He frowns at me.

"You're not giving much away, are you?" he says dryly, rubbing his chin as if in deep thought.

"Neither are you."

"You've interviewed me once already, and I can recollect some quite probing questions then." He smirks at me.

Holy shit. He's remembering the 'gay' question. Once again, I'm mortified. In years to come, I know, I'll need intensive therapy to not feel this embarrassed every time I recall the moment. I start babbling about my mother - anything to block that memory.

"My mom is wonderful. She's an incurable romantic. She's currently on her fourth husband."

Christian raises his eyebrows in surprise.

"I miss her," I continue. "She has Bob now. I just hope he can keep an eye on her and pick up the pieces when her harebrained schemes don't go as planned." I smile fondly. I haven't seen my mom for so long. Christian is watching me intently, taking occasional sips of his coffee. I really shouldn't look at his mouth. It's unsettling. Those lips.

"Do you get along with your stepfather?"

"Of course. I grew up with him. He's the only father I know."

"And what's he like?"

"RayHe's... taciturn."

"That's it?" Grey asks, surprised.

I shrug. What does this man expectMy life story?

"Taciturn like his stepdaughter," Grey prompts.

I refrain from rolling my eyes at him.

"He likes soccer - European soccer especially - and bowling, and fly-fishing, and making furniture. He's a carpenter. Ex-army." I sigh.

"You lived with him?"

"Yes. My mom met Husband Number Three when I was fifteen. I stayed with Ray."

He frowns as if he doesn't understand.

"You didn't want to live with your mom?" he asks.

I blush. This really is none of his business.

"Husband Number Three lived in Texas. My home was in Montesano. And... you know my mom was newly married." I stop. My mom never talks about Husband Number Three. Where is Grey going with thisThis is none of his business. Two can play at this game.

"Tell me about your parents," I ask.

He shrugs.

"My dad's a lawyer, my mom is a pediatrician. They live in Seattle."

Oh... he's had an affluent upbringing. And I wonder about a successful couple who adopt three kids, and one of them turns into a beautiful man who takes on the business world and conquers it single-handed. What drove him to be that wayHis folks must be proud.

"What do your siblings do?"

"Elliot's in construction, and my little sister is in Paris, studying cookery under some renowned French chef." His eyes cloud with irritation. He doesn't want to talk about his family or himself.

"I hear Paris is lovely," I murmur. Why doesn't he want to talk about his familyIs it because he's adopted?

"It's beautiful. Have you been?" he asks, his irritation forgotten.

"I've never left mainland USA." So now we're back to banalities. What is he hiding?

"Would you like to go?"

"To Paris?" I squeak. This has thrown me - who wouldn't want to go to Paris"Of course," I concede. "But it's England that I'd really like to visit."

He cocks his head to one side, running his index finger across his lower lip... oh my.

"Because?"

I blink rapidly. Concentrate, Steele.

"It's the home of Shakespeare, Austen, the Brontsisters, Thomas Hardy. I'd like to see the places that inspired those people to write such wonderful books."

Books
     Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
     Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
     Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
     Grey (Fifty Shades #4)