Home > Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(3)

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(3)
Author: E.L. James

Abruptly the doors open, breaking the spell, and we're on the roof. It's windy, and despite my black jacket, I'm cold. Christian puts his arm around me, pulling me into his side, and we hurry across to where Charlie Tango stands in the center of the helipad with its rotor blades slowly spinning.

A tall, blond, square-jawed man in a dark suit leaps out and, ducking low, runs toward us. Shaking hands with Christian, he shouts above the noise of the rotors.

"Ready to go, sir. She's all yours!"

"All checks done?"

"Yes, sir."

"You'll collect her around eight thirty?"

"Yes, sir."

"Taylor's waiting for you out front."

"Thank you, Mr. Grey. Safe flight to Portland. Ma'am." He salutes me. Without releasing me, Christian nods, ducks down, and leads me to the helicopter door.

Once inside he buckles me firmly into my harness, cinching the straps tight. He gives me a knowing look and his secret smile.

"This should keep you in your place," he murmurs. "I must say I do like this harness on you. Don't touch anything."

I flush a deep crimson, and he runs his index finger down my cheek before handing me the headphones. I'd like to touch you, too, but you won't let me. I scowl at him. Besides, he's pulled the straps so tight I can barely move.

He sits in his seat and buckles himself in, then starts running through all his preflight checks. He's just so competent. It's very alluring. He puts on his headphones and flips a switch and the rotors speed up, deafening me.

Turning, he gazes at me. "Ready, baby?" His voice echoes through the headphones.

"Yes."

He grins his boyish grin. Wow - I've not seen it for so long.

"Sea-Tac tower, this is Charlie Tango - Tango Echo Hotel, cleared for takeoff to Portland via PDX. Please confirm, over."

The disembodied voice of the air traffic controller answers, issuing instructions.

"Roger, tower, Charlie Tango set, over and out." Christian flips two switches, grasps the stick, and the helicopter rises slowly and smoothly into the evening sky.

Seattle and my stomach drop away from us, and there's so much to see.

"We've chased the dawn, Anastasia, now the dusk," his voice comes through on the headphones. I turn to gape at him in surprise.

What does this mean? How is it that he can say the most romantic things? He smiles, and I can't help but smile shyly back at him.

"As well as the evening sun, there's more to see this time," he says.

The last time we flew to Seattle it was dark, but this evening the view is spectacular, literally out of this world. We're up among the tallest buildings, going higher and higher.

"Escala's over there." He points toward the building. "Boeing there, and you can just see the Space Needle."

I crane my head. "I've never been."

"I'll take you - we can eat there."

What? "Christian, we broke up."

"I know. I can still take you there and feed you." He glares at me.

I shake my head and flush before taking a less confrontational approach. "It's very beautiful up here, thank you."

"Impressive, isn't it?"

"Impressive that you can do this."

"Flattery from you, Miss Steele? But I'm a man of many talents."

"I'm fully aware of that, Mr. Grey."

He turns and smirks at me, and for the first time in five days, I relax a little. Perhaps this won't be so bad.

"How's the new job?"

"Good, thank you. Interesting."

"What's your boss like?"

"Oh, he's okay." How can I tell Christian that Jack makes me uncomfortable? Christian turns and gazes at me.

"What's wrong?" he asks.

"Aside from the obvious, nothing."

"The obvious?"

"Oh, Christian, you really are very obtuse sometimes."

"Obtuse? Me? I'm not sure I appreciate your tone, Miss Steele."

"Well, don't then."

His lips twitch into a smile. "I have missed your smart mouth."

I gasp and I want to shout, I've missed you - all of you - not just your mouth! But I keep quiet and gaze out the glass fishbowl that is Charlie Tango's windshield as we continue south. The dusk is to our right, the sun low on the horizon - large, blazing fiery orange -

and I am Icarus again, flying far too close.

The dusk has followed us from Seattle, and the sky is awash with opal, pinks, and aquamarines woven seamlessly together as only Mother Nature knows how. It's a clear, crisp evening, and the lights of Portland twinkle and wink, welcoming us as Christian sets the helicopter down on the helipad. We are on top of the strange brown brick building in Portland we left less than three weeks ago.

Jeez, it's been hardly any time at all. Yet I feel like I've known Christian for a lifetime.

He powers down Charlie Tango, flipping various switches so the rotors stop, and eventually all I hear is my own breathing through the headphones. Hmm. Briefly it reminds me of the Thomas Tallis experience. I blanch. I so don't want to go there right now.

Christian unbuckles his harness and leans across to undo mine.

"Good trip, Miss Steele?" he asks, his voice mild, his gray eyes glowing.

"Yes, thank you, Mr. Grey," I reply politely.

"Well, let's go see the boy's photos." He holds his hand out to me and taking it, I climb out of Charlie Tango.

A gray-haired man with a beard walks over to meet us, smiling broadly, and I recognize him as the old-timer from the last time we were here.

"Joe." Christian smiles and releases my hand to shake Joe's warmly.

"Keep her safe for Stephan. He'll be along around eight or nine."

"Will do, Mr. Grey. Ma'am," he says, nodding at me. "Your car's waiting downstairs, sir. Oh, and the elevator's out of order; you'll need to use the stairs."

"Thank you, Joe."

Christian takes my hand, and we head to the emergency stairs.

"Good thing for you this is only three floors, in those heels," he mutters to me in disapproval.

No kidding.

"Don't you like the boots?"

"I like them very much, Anastasia." His gaze darkens and I think he might say something else, but he stops. "Come. We'll take it slow. I don't want you falling and breaking your neck."

We sit in silence as our driver takes us to the gallery. My anxiety has returned full force, and I realize that our time in Charlie Tango has been the eye of the storm. Christian is quiet and brooding... apprehensive even; our lighter mood from earlier has dissipated. There's so much I want to say, but this journey is too short. Christian stares pensively out the window.

"Jose is just a friend," I murmur.

Christian turns and gazes at me, his eyes dark and guarded, giving nothing away. His mouth - oh, his mouth is distracting, and unbidden. I remember it on me - everywhere. My skin heats. He shifts in his seat and frowns.

"Those beautiful eyes look too large in your face, Anastasia. Please tell me you'll eat."

"Yes, Christian, I'll eat," I answer automatically, a platitude.

"I mean it."

"Do you now?" I cannot keep the disdain out of my voice. Honestly, the audacity of this man - this man who has put me through hell over the last few days. No, that's wrong.

I've put myself through hell. No. It's him. I shake my head, confused.

"I don't want to fight with you, Anastasia. I want you back, and I want you healthy,"

he says softly.

What? What does that mean? "But nothing's changed." You're still fifty shades.

"Let's talk on the way back. We're here."

The car pulls up in front of the gallery, and Christian climbs out, leaving me speechless. He opens the car door for me, and I clamber out.

"Why do you do that?" My voice is louder than I expected.

"Do what?" Christian is taken aback.

"Say something like that and then just stop."

"Anastasia, we're here. Where you want to be. Let's do this and then talk. I don't particularly want a scene in the street."

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