Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(4)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(4)
Author: E.L. James

"Mr. Grey." I nod at him. Moving with lithe athletic grace to the door, he opens it wide.

"Just ensuring you make it through the door, Miss Steele." He gives me a small smile.

Obviously, he's referring to my earlier less-than-elegant entry into his office. I flush.

"That's very considerate, Mr. Grey," I snap, and his smile widens. I'm glad you find me entertaining, I glower inwardly, walking into the foyer. I'm surprised when he follows me out. Andrea and Olivia both look up, equally surprised.

"Did you have a coat?" Grey asks.

"Yes." Olivia leaps up and retrieves my jacket, which Grey takes from her before she can hand it to me. He holds it up and, feeling ridiculously self-conscious, I shrug it on.

Grey places his hands for a moment on my shoulders. I gasp at the contact. If he notices my reaction, he gives nothing away. His long index finger presses the button summoning the elevator, and we stand waiting - awkwardly on my part, coolly self-possessed on his.

The doors open, and I hurry in desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he's leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It's distracting. His burning gray eyes gaze at me.

"Anastasia," he says as a farewell.

"Christian," I reply. And mercifully, the doors close.

Chapter Two

My heart is pounding. The elevator arrives on the first floor, and I scramble out as soon as the doors slide open, stumbling once, but fortunately not sprawling on to the immaculate sandstone floor. I race for the wide glass doors, and I'm free in the bracing, cleansing, damp air of Seattle. Raising my face, I welcome the cool refreshing rain. I close my eyes and take a deep, purifying breath, trying to recover what's left of my equilibrium.

No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why.

Is it his looksHis civilityWealthPowerI don't understand my irrational reaction.

I breathe an enormous sigh of relief. What in heaven's name was that all aboutLeaning against one of the steel pillars of the building, I valiantly attempt to calm down and gather my thoughts. I shake my head. Holy crap - what was thatMy heart steadies to its regular rhythm, and I can breathe normally again. I head for the car.

As I leave the city limits behind, I begin to feel foolish and embarrassed as I replay the interview in my mind. Surely, I'm over-reacting to something that's imaginary. Okay, so he's very attractive, confident, commanding, at ease with himself - but on the flip side, he's arrogant, and for all his impeccable manners, he's autocratic and cold. Well, on the surface.

An involuntary shiver runs down my spine. He may be arrogant, but then he has a right to be - he's accomplished so much at such a young age. He doesn't suffer fools gladly, but why should heAgain, I'm irritated that Kate didn't give me a brief biography.

While cruising along the I-5, my mind continues to wander. I'm truly perplexed as to what makes someone so driven to succeed. Some of his answers were so cryptic - as if he had a hidden agenda. And Kate's questions - ugh! The adoption and asking him if he was g*y! I shudder. I can't believe I said that. Ground, swallow me up now! Every time I think of that question in the future, I will cringe with embarrassment. Damn Katherine Kavanagh!

I check the speedometer. I'm driving more cautiously than I would on any other occasion. And I know it's the memory of two penetrating gray eyes gazing at me, and a stern voice telling me to drive carefully. Shaking my head, I realize that Grey's more like a man double his age.

Forget it, Ana, I scold myself. I decide that all in all, it's been a very interesting experience, but I shouldn't dwell on it . Put it behind you. I never have to see him again. I'm immediately cheered by the thought. I switch on the MP3 player and turn the volume up loud, sit back, and listen to thumping indie rock music as I press down on the accelerator.

As I hit the 1-5, I realize I can drive as fast as I want.

We live in a small community of duplex apartments in Vancouver, Washington, close to the Vancouver campus of WSU. I'm lucky - Kate's parents bought the place for her, and I pay peanuts for rent. It's been home for four years now. As I pull up outside, I know Kate is going to want a blow-by-blow account, and she is tenacious. Well, at least she has the mini-disc. Hopefully I won't have to elaborate much beyond what was said during the interview.

"Ana! You're back." Kate sits in our living area, surrounded by books. She's clearly been studying for finals - though she's still in her pink flannel pajamas decorated with cute little rabbits, the ones she reserves for the aftermath of breaking up with boyfriends, for assorted illnesses, and for general moody depression. She bounds up to me and hugs me hard.

"I was beginning to worry. I expected you back sooner."

"Oh, I thought I made good time considering the interview ran over." I wave the mini-disc recorder at her.

"Ana, thank you so much for doing this. I owe you, I know. How was itWhat was he like?" Oh no - here we go, the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition.

I struggle to answer her question. What can I say?

"I'm glad it's over, and I don't have to see him again. He was rather intimidating, you know." I shrug. "He's very focused, intense even - and young. Really young."

Kate gazes innocently at me. I frown at her.

"Don't you look so innocent. Why didn't you give me a biographyHe made me feel like such an idiot for skimping on basic research." Kate clamps a hand to her mouth.

"Jeez, Ana, I'm sorry - I didn't think."

I huff.

"Mostly he was courteous, formal, slightly stuffy - like he's old before his time. He doesn't talk like a man of twenty-something. How old is he anyway?"

"Twenty-seven. Jeez, Ana, I'm sorry. I should have briefed you, but I was in such a panic. Let me have the mini-disc, and I'll start transcribing the interview."

"You look better. Did you eat your soup?" I ask, keen to change the subject.

"Yes, and it was delicious as usual. I'm feeling much better." She smiles at me in gratitude. I check my watch.

"I have to run. I can still make my shift at Clayton's."

"Ana, you'll be exhausted."

"I'll be fine. I'll see you later."

I've worked at Clayton's since I started at WSU. It's the largest independent hardware store in the Portland area, and over the four years I've worked here, I've come to know a little bit about most everything we sell - although ironically, I'm crap at any DIY. I leave all that to my dad. I'm much more of a curl-up-with-a-book-in-a-comfy-chair-by-the-fire kind of girl. I'm glad I can make my shift as it gives me something to focus on that isn't Christian Grey. We're busy - it's the start of the summer season, and folks are redecorating their homes. Mrs. Clayton is pleased to see me.

"Ana! I thought you weren't going to make it today."

"My appointment didn't take as long as I thought. I can do a couple of hours."

"I'm real pleased to see you."

She sends me to the storeroom to start re-stocking shelves, and I'm soon absorbed in the task.

When I arrive home later, Katherine is wearing headphones and working on her laptop.

Her nose is still pink, but she has her teeth into a story, so she's concentrating and typing furiously. I'm thoroughly drained - exhausted by the long drive, the grueling interview, and by being rushed off my feet at Clayton's. I slump on to the couch, thinking about the essay I have to finish and all the studying I haven't done today because I was holed up with ... him.

"You've got some good stuff here, Ana. Well done. I can't believe you didn't take him up on his offer to show you around. He obviously wanted to spend more time with you."

She gives me a fleeting quizzical look.

I flush, and my heart rate inexplicably increases. That wasn't the reason, surelyHe just wanted to show me around so I could see that he was lord of all he surveyed. I realize I'm biting my lip, and I hope Kate doesn't notice. But she seems absorbed in her transcrip-tion."I hear what you mean about formal. Did you take any notes?" she asks.

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