Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(2)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(2)
Author: E.L. James

"Mr. Grey will see you now, Miss Steele. Do go through," Blonde Number Two says.

I stand rather shakily trying to suppress my nerves. Gathering up my satchel, I abandon my glass of water and make my way to the partially open door.

"You don't need to knock - just go in." She smiles kindly.

I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet, and falling head first into the office.

Double crap - me and my two left feet! I am on my hands and knees in the doorway to Mr. Grey's office, and gentle hands are around me helping me to stand. I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow - he's so young.

"Miss Kavanagh." He extends a long-fingered hand to me once I'm upright. "I'm Christian Grey. Are you all rightWould you like to sit?"

So young - and attractive, very attractive. He's tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice.

"Um. Actually - " I mutter. If this guy is over thirty then I'm a monkey's uncle. In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static. I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.

"Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don't mind, Mr. Grey."

"And you are?" His voice is warm, possibly amused, but it's difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looks mildly interested, but above all, polite.

"Anastasia Steele. I'm studying English Literature with Kate, um... Katherine...um... Miss Kavanagh at Washington State."

"I see," he says simply. I think I see the ghost of a smile in his expression, but I'm not sure. "Would you like to sit?" He waves me toward a white leather buttoned L-shaped couch.

His office is way too big for just one man. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, there's a huge modern dark-wood desk that six people could comfortably eat around. It matches the coffee table by the couch. Everything else is white - ceiling, floors, and walls except, on the wall by the door, where a mosaic of small paintings hang, thirty-six of them arranged in a square. They are exquisite - a series of mundane, forgotten objects painted in such precise detail they look like photographs. Displayed together, they are breathtaking.

"A local artist. Trouton," says Grey when he catches my gaze.

"They're lovely. Raising the ordinary to extraordinary," I murmur, distracted both by him and the paintings. He cocks his head to one side and regards me intently.

"I couldn't agree more, Miss Steele," he replies, his voice soft and for some inexplicable reason I find myself blushing.

Apart from the paintings, the rest of the office is cold, clean, and clinical. I wonder if it reflects the personality of the Adonis who sinks gracefully into one of the white leather chairs opposite me. I shake my head, disturbed at the direction of my thoughts, and retrieve Kate's questions from my satchel. Next, I set up the mini-disc recorder and am all fingers and thumbs, dropping it twice on the coffee table in front of me. Mr. Grey says nothing, waiting patiently - I hope - as I become increasingly embarrassed and flustered. When I pluck up the courage to look at him, he's watching me, one hand relaxed in his lap and the other cupping his chin and trailing his long index finger across his lips. I think he's trying to suppress a smile.

"Sorry," I stutter. "I'm not used to this."

"Take all the time you need, Miss Steele," he says.

"Do you mind if I record your answers?"

"After you've taken so much trouble to set up the recorder - you ask me now?"

I flush. He's teasing meI hope. I blink at him, unsure what to say, and I think he takes pity on me because he relents. "No, I don't mind."

"Did Kate, I mean, Miss Kavanagh, explain what the interview was for?"

"Yes. To appear in the graduation issue of the student newspaper as I shall be conferring the degrees at this year's graduation ceremony."

Oh! This is news to me, and I'm temporarily pre-occupied by the thought that someone not much older than me - okay, maybe six years or so, and okay, mega successful, but still - is going to present me with my degree. I frown, dragging my wayward attention back to the task at hand.

"Good," I swallow nervously. "I have some questions, Mr. Grey." I smooth a stray lock of hair behind my ear.

"I thought you might," he says, deadpan. He's laughing at me. My cheeks heat at the realization, and I sit up and square my shoulders in an attempt to look taller and more intimidating. Pressing the start button on the recorder, I try to look professional.

"You're very young to have amassed such an empire. To what do you owe your success?" I glance up at him. His smile is rueful, but he looks vaguely disappointed.

"Business is all about people, Miss Steele, and I'm very good at judging people. I know how they tick, what makes them flourish, what doesn't, what inspires them, and how to incentivize them. I employ an exceptional team, and I reward them well." He pauses and fixes me with his gray stare. "My belief is to achieve success in any scheme one has to make oneself master of that scheme, know it inside and out, know every detail. I work hard, very hard to do that. I make decisions based on logic and facts. I have a natural gut instinct that can spot and nurture a good solid idea and good people. The bottom line is, it's always down to good people."

"Maybe you're just lucky." This isn't on Kate's list - but he's so arrogant. His eyes flare momentarily in surprise.

"I don't subscribe to luck or chance, Miss Steele. The harder I work the more luck I seem to have. It really is all about having the right people on your team and directing their energies accordingly. I think it was Harvey Firestone who said 'the growth and develop-ment of people is the highest calling of leadership.'"

"You sound like a control freak." The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them."Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele," he says without a trace of humor in his smile. I look at him, and he holds my gaze steadily, impassive. My heartbeat quickens, and my face flushes again.

Why does he have such an unnerving effect on meHis overwhelming good-looks maybeThe way his eyes blaze at meThe way he strokes his index finger against his lower lipI wish he'd stop doing that.

"Besides, immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control things," he continues, his voice soft.

"Do you feel that you have immense power?" Control Freak.

"I employ over forty thousand people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain sense of responsibility - power, if you will. If I were to decide I was no longer interested in the telecommunications business and sell up, twenty thousand people would struggle to make their mortgage payments after a month or so."

My mouth drops open. I am staggered by his lack of humility.

"Don't you have a board to answer to?" I ask, disgusted.

"I own my company. I don't have to answer to a board." He raises an eyebrow at me.

I flush. Of course, I would know this if I had done some research. But holy crap, he's so arrogant. I change tack.

"And do you have any interests outside your work?"

"I have varied interests, Miss Steele." A ghost of a smile touches his lips. "Very varied." And for some reason, I'm confounded and heated by his steady gaze. His eyes are alight with some wicked thought.

"But if you work so hard, what do you do to chill out?"

"Chill out?" He smiles, revealing perfect white teeth. I stop breathing. He really is beautiful. No one should be this good-looking.

"Well, to 'chill out' as you put it - I sail, I fly, I indulge in various physical pursuits."

He shifts in his chair. "I'm a very wealthy man, Miss Steele, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies."

I glance quickly at Kate's questions, wanting to get off this subject.

"You invest in manufacturing. Why, specifically?" I ask. Why does he make me so uncomfortable?

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