Home > Grey (Fifty Shades #4)(6)

Grey (Fifty Shades #4)(6)
Author: E.L. James

“Mr. Grey.” His handshake is limp, like his hair. Asshole. “Wait up—not the Christian Grey? Of Grey Enterprises Holdings?”

Yeah, that’s me, you prick.

In a heartbeat I watch him morph from territorial to obsequious.

“Wow—is there anything I can get you?”

“Anastasia has it covered, Mr. Clayton. She’s been very attentive.” Now fuck off.

“Cool,” he gushes, all white teeth and deferential. “Catch you later, Ana.”

“Sure, Paul,” she says, and he ambles off to the back of the store. I watch him disappear.

“Anything else, Mr. Grey?”

“Just these items,” I mutter. Shit, I’m out of time, and I still don’t know if I’m going to see her again. I have to know whether there’s a hope in hell she might consider what I have in mind. How can I ask her? Am I ready to take on a submissive who knows nothing? She’s going to need substantial training. Closing my eyes, I imagine the interesting possibilities this presents…getting there is going to be half the fun. Will she even be up for this? Or do I have it all wrong?

She walks back to the cashier’s counter and rings up my purchases, all the while keeping her eyes on the register.

Look at me, damn it! I want to see her face again and gauge what she’s thinking.

Finally she raises her head. “That will be forty-three dollars, please.”

Is that all?

“Would you like a bag?” she asks, as I pass her my AmEx.

“Please, Anastasia.” Her name—a beautiful name for a beautiful girl—flows smoothly over my tongue.

She packs the items briskly. This is it. I have to go.

“You’ll call me if you want me to do the photo shoot?”

She nods as she hands back my charge card.

“Good. Until tomorrow, perhaps.” I can’t just leave. I have to let her know I’m interested. “Oh—and Anastasia, I’m glad Miss Kavanagh couldn’t do the interview.” She looks surprised and flattered.

This is good.

I sling the bag over my shoulder and exit the store.

Yes, against my better judgment, I want her. Now I have to wait…fucking wait…again. Utilizing willpower that would make Elena proud, I keep my eyes ahead as I take my cell out of my pocket and climb into the rental car. I’m deliberately not looking back at her. I’m not. I’m not. My eyes flick to the rearview mirror, where I can see the shop door, but all I see is the quaint storefront. She’s not in the window, staring out at me.

It’s disappointing.

I press 1 on speed dial and Taylor answers before the phone has a chance to ring.

“Mr. Grey,” he says.

“Make reservations at The Heathman; I’m staying in Portland this weekend, and can you bring down the SUV, my computer, and the paperwork beneath it, and a change or two of clothes.”

“Yes, sir. And Charlie Tango?”

“Have Joe move her to PDX.”

“Will do, sir. I’ll be with you in about three and a half hours.”

I hang up and start the car. So I have a few hours in Portland while I wait to see if this girl is interested in me. What to do? Time for a hike, I think. Maybe I can walk this strange hunger out of my system.

IT’S BEEN FIVE HOURS with no phone call from the delectable Miss Steele. What the hell was I thinking? I watch the street from the window of my suite at The Heathman. I loathe waiting. I always have. The weather, now cloudy, held for my hike through Forest Park, but the walk has done nothing to cure my agitation. I’m annoyed at her for not phoning, but mostly I’m angry with myself. I’m a fool for being here. What a waste of time it’s been chasing this woman. When have I ever chased a woman?

Grey, get a grip.

Sighing, I check my phone once again in the hope that I’ve just missed her call, but there’s nothing. At least Taylor has arrived and I have all my shit. I have Barney’s report on his department’s graphene tests to read and I can work in peace.

Peace? I haven’t known peace since Miss Steele fell into my office.

WHEN I GLANCE UP, dusk has shrouded my suite in gray shadows. The prospect of a night alone again is depressing. While I contemplate what to do my phone vibrates against the polished wood of the desk and an unknown but vaguely familiar number with a Washington area code flashes on the screen. Suddenly my heart is pumping as if I’ve run ten miles.

Is it her?

I answer.

“Er…Mr. Grey? It’s Anastasia Steele.”

My face erupts in a shit-eating grin. Well, well. A breathy, nervous, soft-spoken Miss Steele. My evening is looking up.

“Miss Steele. How nice to hear from you.” I hear her breath hitch and the sound travels directly to my groin.

Great. I’m affecting her. Like she’s affecting me.

“Um—we’d like to go ahead with the photo shoot for the article. Tomorrow, if that’s okay. Where would be convenient for you, sir?”

In my room. Just you, me, and the cable ties.

“I’m staying at The Heathman in Portland. Shall we say nine thirty tomorrow morning?”

“Okay, we’ll see you there,” she gushes, unable to hide the relief and delight in her voice.

“I look forward to it, Miss Steele.” I hang up before she senses my excitement and how pleased I am. Leaning back in my chair, I gaze at the darkening skyline and run both my hands through my hair.

How the hell am I going to close this deal?

SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011

* * *

With Moby blasting in my ears I run down Southwest Salmon Street toward the Willamette River. It’s 6:30 in the morning and I’m trying to clear my head. Last night I dreamed of her. Blue eyes, breathy voice…her sentences ending with “sir” as she knelt before me. Since I’ve met her, my dreams have been a welcome change from the occasional nightmare. I wonder what Flynn would make of that. The thought is disconcerting, so I ignore it and concentrate on pushing my body to its limits along the bank of the Willamette. As my feet pound the walkway, sunshine breaks through the clouds and it gives me hope.

TWO HOURS LATER AS I jog back to the hotel I pass a coffee shop. Maybe I should take her for coffee.

Like a date?

Well. No. Not a date. I laugh at the ridiculous thought. Just a chat—an interview of sorts. Then I can find out a little more about this enigmatic woman and if she’s interested, or if I’m on a wild-goose chase. I’m alone in the elevator as I stretch out. Finishing my stretches in my hotel suite, I’m centered and calm for the first time since I arrived in Portland. Breakfast has been delivered and I’m famished. It’s not a feeling I tolerate—ever. Sitting down to breakfast in my sweats, I decide to eat before I shower.

THERE’S A BRISK KNOCK on the door. I open it and Taylor stands on the threshold.

“Good morning, Mr. Grey.”

“Morning. They ready for me?”

“Yes, sir. They’re set up in room 601.”

“I’ll be right down.” I close the door and tuck my shirt into my gray pants. My hair is wet from my shower, but I don’t give a shit. One glance at the louche fucker in the mirror and I exit to follow Taylor to the elevator.

Room 601 is crowded with people, lights, and camera boxes, but I spot her immediately. She’s standing to the side. Her hair is loose: a lush, glossy mane that falls beneath her breasts. She’s wearing tight jeans and chucks with a short-sleeved navy jacket and a white T-shirt beneath. Are jeans and chucks her signature look? While not very convenient, they do flatter her shapely legs. Her eyes, disarming as ever, widen as I approach.

“Miss Steele, we meet again.” She takes my extended hand and for a moment I want to squeeze hers and raise it to my lips.

Don’t be absurd, Grey.

She turns her delicious pink and waves in the direction of her friend, who is standing too close, waiting for my attention.

“Mr. Grey, this is Katherine Kavanagh,” she says. With reluctance I release her and turn to the persistent Miss Kavanagh. She’s tall, striking, and well groomed, like her father, but she has her mother’s eyes, and I have her to thank for my introduction to the delightful Miss Steele. That thought makes me feel a little more benevolent toward her.

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