Home > Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)(6)

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)(6)
Author: E.L. James

Christian leads me into the hotel, through the lobby, and out onto the street. He remains silent, brooding, and bad-tempered, and it's all my fault. Taylor and his team shadow us.

"Where are we going?" I ask tentatively, gazing up at him.

"Back to the boat." He doesn't look at me.

I have no idea of the time. I think it must be about five or six in the afternoon. When we reach the quayside, Christian leads me onto the dock where the motorboat and Jet Ski belonging to the Fair Lady are moored. As Christian unties the Jet Ski, I hand my backpack to Taylor. I glance nervously up at him, but like Christian, his expression gives nothing away. I flush, thinking about what he's seen on the beach.

"Here you go, Mrs. Grey." Taylor passes me a life vest from the motorboat, and I dutifully put it on. Why am I the only one who has to wear a life jacket? Christian and Taylor exchange some kind of look. Jeez, is he angry with Taylor, too? Christian then checks the straps on my life jacket, cinching the middle one tightly.

"You'll do," he mutters sullenly, still not turning to look at me. Shit. He climbs gracefully on to the Jet Ski and holds out his hand for me to join him. Grasping it tightly, I manage to throw my leg over the seat behind him without falling into the water, while Taylor and the twins clamber into the motorboat. Christian kicks the Jet Ski away from the quay, and it floats gently into the marina.

"Hold on," he orders, and I put my arms around him. This is my favorite part of traveling by Jet Ski. I hug him closely, my nose nuzzling into his back, marveling that there was a time when he would not have tolerated me touching him this way. He smells good . . . of Christian and the sea. Forgive me, Christian, please?

He stiffens. "Steady," he says, his tone softer. I kiss his back and rest my cheek against him, looking back toward the quay where a few holidaymakers have gathered to watch the show.

Christian turns the key and the motor roars to life. With one twist of the accelerator, the Jet Ski bucks forward and speeds across the cool dark water, through the marina and out to the center of the harbor toward the Fair Lady. I hold him tighter. I love this - it's so exciting. Every muscle in Christian's lean frame is evident as I cling to him. Taylor pulls alongside in the motorboat. Christian glances at him then accelerates again, and we shoot forward, whipping over the top of the water like an expertly tossed pebble. Taylor shakes his head in resigned exasperation and heads straight to the yacht, while Christian shoots past the Fair Lady and heads out toward the open sea. The sea spray is splashing us, the warm wind buffeting my face and flaying my ponytail crazily around me. This is so much fun. Maybe the thrill of this ride will dispel Christian's bad mood. I can't see his face, but I know he's enjoying himself - carefree, acting his age for a change.

He steers in a huge semicircle and I study the shoreline - the boats in the marina, the mosaic of yellow, white and sand-colored offices and apartments, and the craggy mountains behind. It looks so disorganized - not the regimented blocks that I am used to - but so picturesque. Christian glances over his shoulder at me, and there's the ghost of a smile playing on his lips.

"Again?" he shouts over the noise of the engine.

I nod enthusiastically. His answering grin is dazzling, and he opens the throttle and speeds around the Fair Lady and on out to sea once more . . . and I think I'm forgiven.

"You've caught the sun," Christian says mildly as he undoes my life vest. I anxiously try to assess his mood. We are on deck aboard the yacht, and one of the stewards is standing quietly nearby, waiting for my life vest. Christian passes it to him.

"Will that be all, sir?" the young man asks. I love his French accent. Christian glances at me, takes off his shades, and slips them into the collar of his T-shirt, letting them hang.

"Would you like a drink?" he asks me.

"Do I need one?"

He cocks his head to one side.

"Why would you say that?" His voice is soft.

"You know why."

He frowns as if weighing something up in his mind. Oh, what is he thinking?

"Two gin and tonics, please. And some nuts and olives," he says to the steward, who nods and quickly vanishes.

"You think I'm going to punish you?" Christian's voice is silky.

"Do you want to?"

"Yes."

"How?"

"I'll think of something. Maybe when you've had your drink." And it's a sensual threat. I swallow, and my inner goddess blinks up from her sun lounger where she's trying to catch rays with a silver reflector fanned out at her neck.

Christian's frowns once more.

"You want to be?"

How does he know?

"Depends," I mutter, flushing.

"On what?" He hides his smile.

"If you want to hurt me or not."

His mouth presses into a hard line, humor forgotten. He leans forward and kisses my forehead.

"Anastasia, you're my wife, not my sub. I don't ever want to hurt you. You should know that by now. Just . . . just don't take your clothes off in public. I don't want you naked all over the tabloids. You don't want that, and I'm sure your mom and Ray don't want that either."

Oh! Ray. Holy shit, he'd have a coronary. What was I thinking? I mentally castigate myself.

The steward appears with our drinks and snacks and places them on the teak table.

"Sit," Christian commands. I do as he says and settle into a director's chair. Christian takes a seat beside me and passes me a gin and tonic.

"Cheers, Mrs. Grey."

"Cheers, Mr. Grey."

I take a welcome sip. It's thirst-quenching, cold, and delicious. When I gaze at him, he's watching me carefully, his mood unreadable. It's very frustrating . . . I don't know if he's still mad at me. I deploy my patented distraction technique.

"Who owns this boat?" I ask.

"A British knight. Sir Somebody-or-Other. His great-grandfather started a grocery store. His daughter's married to one of the Crown Princes of Europe."

Oh. "Super-rich?"

Christian looks suddenly wary. "Yes."

"Like you," I murmur.

"Yes."

Oh.

"And like you," Christian whispers and pops an olive into his mouth. I blink rapidly . . . a vision of him in his tux and silver waistcoat comes to mind . . . his eyes burning with sincerity as he gazes down at me during our wedding ceremony.

"All that is mine is now yours," he says, his voice ringing out clearly reciting his vows from memory.

All mine? Holy cow.

"It's odd. Going from nothing to" - I wave my hand to indicate our opulent surroundings - "to everything."

"You'll get used to it."

"I don't think I'll ever get used to it."

Taylor appears on deck. "Sir, you have a call." Christian frowns but takes the proffered Blackberry.

"Grey," he snaps and rises from his seat to stand at the bow of the yacht.

I gaze out at the sea, tuning out his conversation with Ros - I think - his number two. I am rich . . . stinking rich. I have done nothing to earn this money . . . just married a rich man. I shudder as my mind drifts back to our conversation about prenups. It was Sunday after his birthday and we were seated at the kitchen table enjoying a leisurely breakfast . . . all of us, Elliot, Kate, Grace, and I were debating the merits of bacon versus sausage, while Carrick and Christian read the Sunday paper . . .

"Look at this," squeals Mia as she sets her netbook on the table before us on the kitchen table. "There's a gossipy item on the Seattle Nooz website about you being engaged, Christian."

"Already?" Grace says in surprise. Then her mouth purses as some obviously unpleasant thought crosses her mind. Christian frowns. Mia reads the column out loud. "Word has reached us here at The Nooz that Seattle's most eligible bachelor, the Christian Grey, has finally been snapped up and wedding bells are in the air. But who is the lucky, lucky lady? The Nooz is on the hunt. Bet she's reading one helluva prenup."

Mia giggles then stops abruptly as Christian glares at her. Silence descends, and the atmosphere in the Grey kitchen plunges to below zero.

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