Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(8)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(8)
Author: E.L. James

"We're kind of busy out there, Ana," he says without acrimony.

"Yeah, um, sorry," I mutter, turning to leave.

"So, how come you know Christian Grey?" Paul's voice is unconvincingly nonchalant.

"I had to interview him for our student newspaper. Kate wasn't well." I shrug, trying to sound casual and doing no better than him.

"Christian Grey in Clayton's. Go figure," Paul snorts, amazed. He shakes his head as if to clear it. "Anyway, want to grab a drink or something this evening?"

Whenever he's home he asks me on a date, and I always say no. It's a ritual. I've never considered it a good idea to date the boss's brother, and besides, Paul is cute in a whole-some all-American boy-next-door kind of way, but he's no literary hero, not by any stretch of the imagination. Is Grey My subconscious asks me, her eyebrow figuratively raised.

I slap her down.

"Don't you have a family dinner or something for your brother?"

"That's tomorrow."

"Maybe some other time, Paul. I need to study tonight. I have my finals next week."

"Ana, one of these days, you'll say yes," he smiles as I escape out to the store floor.

"But I do places, Ana, not people," Jose groans.

"Jose, please?" I beg. Clutching my cell, I pace the living area of our apartment, staring out of the window at the fading evening light.

"Give me that phone." Kate grabs the handset from me, tossing her silken red-blonde hair over her shoulder.

"Listen here, Jose Rodriquez, if you want our newspaper to cover the opening of your show, you'll do this shoot for us tomorrow, capiche?" Kate can be awesomely tough.

"Good. Ana will call back with the location and the call time. We'll see you tomorrow." She snaps my cell phone shut.

"Sorted. All we need to do now is decide where and when. Call him." She holds the phone out to me. My stomach twists.

"Call Grey, now!"

I scowl at her and reach into my back pocket for his business card. I take a deep, steadying breath, and with shaking fingers, I dial the number.

He answers on the second ring. His tone is clipped, calm and cold.

"Grey."

"Err... Mr. GreyIt's Anastasia Steele." I don't recognize my own voice, I'm so nervous. There's a brief pause. Inside I'm quaking.

"Miss Steele. How nice to hear from you." His voice has changed. He's surprised, I think, and he sounds so... warm - seductive even. My breath hitches, and I flush. I'm suddenly conscious that Katherine Kavanagh is staring at me, her mouth open, and I dart into the kitchen to avoid her unwanted scrutiny.

"Err - we'd like to go ahead with the photo-shoot for the article." Breathe, Ana, breathe.

My lungs drag in a hasty breath. "Tomorrow, if that's okay. Where would be convenient for you, sir?"

I can almost hear his sphinx-like smile through the phone.

"I'm staying at the Heathman in Portland. Shall we say, nine thirty tomorrow morning?""Okay, we'll see you there." I am all gushing and breathy - like a child, not a grown woman who can vote and drink legally in the State of Washington.

"I look forward to it, Miss Steele." I visualize the wicked gleam in his gray eyes. How can he make seven little words hold so much tantalizing promise I hang up. Kate is in the kitchen, and she's staring at me with a look of complete and utter consternation on her face.

"Anastasia Rose Steele. You like him! I've never seen or heard you so, so... affected by anyone before. You're actually blushing."

"Oh Kate, you know I blush all the time. It's an occupational hazard with me. Don't be so ridiculous," I snap. She blinks at me with surprise - I very rarely throw my toys out of the pram - and I briefly relent. "I just find him... intimidating, that's all."

"Heathman, that figures," mutters Kate. "I'll give the manager a call and negotiate a space for the shoot."

"I'll make supper. Then I need to study." I cannot hide my irritation with her as I open one of cupboards to make supper.

I am restless that night, tossing and turning. Dreaming of smoky gray eyes, coveralls, long legs, long fingers, and dark, dark unexplored places. I wake twice in the night, my heart pounding. Oh, I'm going to look just great tomorrow with so little sleep, I scold myself. I punch my pillow and try to settle.

The Heathman is nestled in the downtown heart of Portland. Its impressive brown stone edifice was completed just in time for the crash of the late 1920s. Jose, Travis, and I are traveling in my Beetle, and Kate is in her CLK, since we can't all fit in my car. Travis is Jose's friend and gopher, here to help out with the lighting. Kate has managed to acquire the use of a room at the Heathman free of charge for the morning in exchange for a credit in the article. When she explains at reception that we're here to photograph Christian Grey CEO, we are instantly upgraded to a suite. Just a regular-sized suite, however, as apparently Mr. Grey is already occupying the largest one in the building. An over-keen marketing executive shows us up to the suite - he's terribly young and very nervous for some reason.

I suspect it's Kate's beauty and commanding manner that disarms him, because he's putty in her hands. The rooms are elegant, understated, and opulently furnished.

It's nine. We have half an hour to set up. Kate is in full flow.

"Jose, I think we'll shoot against that wall, do you agree?" She doesn't wait for his reply. "Travis, clear the chairs. Ana, could you ask housekeeping to bring up some refresh-mentsAnd let Grey know where we are."

Yes, Mistress. She is so domineering. I roll my eyes, but do as I'm told.

Half an hour later, Christian Grey walks into our suite.

Holy Crap! He's wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and grey flannel pants that hang from his hips. His unruly hair is still damp from a shower. My mouth goes dry looking at him... he's so freaking hot. Grey is followed into the suite by a man in his mid-thirties, all buzz-cut and stubble in a sharp dark suit and tie who stands silently in the corner. His hazel eyes watch us impassively.

"Miss Steele, we meet again." Grey extends his hand, and I shake it, blinking rapidly.

Oh my... he really is, quite... wow. As I touch his hand, I'm aware of that delicious current running right through me, lighting me up, making me blush, and I'm sure my erratic breathing must be audible.

"Mr. Grey, this is Katherine Kavanagh," I mutter, waving a hand toward Kate who comes forward, looking him squarely in the eye.

"The tenacious Miss Kavanagh. How do you do?" He gives her a small smile, looking genuinely amused. "I trust you're feeling betterAnastasia said you were unwell last week."

"I'm fine, thank you, Mr. Grey." She shakes his hand firmly without batting an eyelid.

I remind myself that Kate has been to the best private schools in Washington. Her family has money, and she's grown up confident and sure of her place in the world. She doesn't take any crap. I am in awe of her.

"Thank you for taking the time to do this." She gives him a polite, professional smile.

"It's a pleasure," he answers, turning his gray gaze on me, and I flush, again. Damn it.

"This is Jose Rodriguez, our photographer," I say, grinning at Jose who smiles with affection back at me. His eyes cool when he looks from me to Grey.

"Mr. Grey," he nods.

"Mr. Rodriguez," Grey's expression changes too as he appraises Jose.

"Where would you like me?" Grey asks him. His tone sounds vaguely threatening. But Katherine is not about to let Jose run the show.

"Mr. Grey - if you could sit here, pleaseBe careful of the lighting cables. And then we'll do a few standing, too." She directs him to a chair set up against the wall.

Travis switches on the lights, momentarily blinding Grey, and mutters an apology.

Then Travis and I stand back and watch as Jose proceeds to snap away. He takes several photographs hand-held, asking Grey to turn this way, then that, to move his arm, then put it down again. Moving to the tripod, Jose takes several more, while Grey sits and poses, patiently and naturally, for about twenty minutes. My wish has come true: I can stand and admire Grey from not-so-afar. Twice our eyes lock, and I have to tear myself away from his cloudy gaze.

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