Home > Grey (Fifty Shades #4)(18)

Grey (Fifty Shades #4)(18)
Author: E.L. James

Hell! This is what she wants. To be courted and wooed.

I don’t do romance, sweetheart.

A lock of her hair has broken free, and without thinking, I tuck it behind her ear. She leans her face into my fingers, the tender gesture surprising me. My thumb strays to her soft bottom lip, which I’d like to kiss again. But I can’t. Not until I have her consent.

“Laters, baby,” I whisper, and her face softens with a smile. “I’ll pick you up at eight.” Reluctantly, I turn away and open the front door, Elliot behind me.

“Man, I need some sleep,” Elliot says, as soon as we’re in the car. “That woman is voracious.”

“Really…” My voice drips with sarcasm. The last thing I want is a blow-by-blow account of his assignation.

“How about you, hotshot? Did she pop your cherry?”

I give him a sideways “fuck off” glare.

Elliot laughs. “Man, you are one uptight son of a bitch.” He pulls his Sounders cap over his face and nestles down in his seat for a nap.

I turn up the volume of the music.

Sleep through that, Lelliot!

Yeah. I envy my brother: his ease with women, his ability to sleep…and the fact that he’s not the son of a bitch.

JOSÉ LUIS RODRIGUEZ’S BACKGROUND check reveals a ticket for possession of marijuana. There is nothing in his police records for sexual harassment. Maybe last night would have been a first if I hadn’t intervened. And the little prick smokes weed? I hope he doesn’t smoke around Ana—and I hope she doesn’t smoke, period.

Opening Andrea’s e-mail, I send the NDA to the printer in my study at home in Escala. Ana will need to sign it before I show her my playroom. And in a moment of weakness, or hubris, or perhaps unprecedented optimism—I don’t know which—I fill in her name and address on my standard Dom/sub contract and send that to print, too.

There’s a knock at the door.

“Hey, hotshot. Let’s go hiking,” Elliot says through the door.

Ah…the child has woken from his nap.

THE SCENT OF PINE, fresh damp earth, and late spring is a balm to my senses. The smell reminds me of those heady days of my childhood, running through a forest with Elliot and my sister Mia under the watchful eyes of our adoptive parents. The quiet, the space, the freedom…the scrunch of dry pine needles underfoot.

Here in the great outdoors I could forget.

Here was a refuge from my nightmares.

Elliot chatters away, needing only the occasional grunt from me to keep talking. As we make our way along the pebbled shore of the Willamette my mind strays to Anastasia. For the first time in a long time, I have a sweet sense of anticipation. I’m excited.

Will she say yes to my proposal?

I picture her sleeping beside me, soft and small…and my cock twitches with expectation. I could have woken her and fucked her then—what a novelty that would have been.

I’ll fuck her in time.

I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.

CLAYTON’S IS QUIET. The last customer left five minutes ago. And I’m waiting—again—drumming my fingers on my thighs. Patience is not my forte. Even the long hike with Elliot today has not dampened my restlessness. He’s having dinner with Kate this evening at The Heathman. Two dates on consecutive nights is not his usual style.

Suddenly the fluorescent lights inside the store flicker off, the front door opens, and Ana steps out into a mild Portland evening. My heart begins to hammer. This is it: either the beginning of a new relationship or the beginning of the end. She waves good-bye to a young man who’s followed her out. It’s not the same man I met the last time I was here—it’s someone new. He watches her walk toward the car, his eyes on her ass. Taylor distracts me by making a move to climb out of the car, but I stop him. This is my call. When I’m out of the car holding the door open for her, the new guy is locking up the store and no longer ogling Miss Steele.

Her lips curve into a shy smile as she approaches, her hair in a jaunty ponytail swinging in the evening breeze.

“Good evening, Miss Steele.”

“Mr. Grey,” she says. She’s dressed in black jeans…Jeans again. She greets Taylor as she climbs into the backseat of the car.

Once I’m beside her I clasp her hand, while Taylor pulls out onto the empty road and heads to the Portland helipad. “How was work?” I ask, enjoying the feel of her hand in mine.

“Very long,” she says, her voice husky.

“Yes, it’s been a long day for me, too.”

It’s been hell waiting for the last couple of hours!

“What did you do?” she asks.

“I went hiking with Elliot.” Her hand is warm and soft. She glances down at our joined fingers and I brush her knuckles with my thumb over and over. Her breath catches and her eyes meet mine. In them I see her longing and desire…and her sense of anticipation. I just hope she accepts my proposition.

Mercifully, the drive to the helipad is short. When we’re out of the car I take her hand again. She looks a little perplexed.

Ah. She’s wondering where the helicopter might be.

“Ready?” I ask. She nods, and I lead her into the building toward the elevator. She gives me a quick knowing look.

She’s remembering the kiss from this morning, but then…so am I.

“It’s only three floors,” I mutter.

As we stand inside I make a mental note to fuck her in an elevator one day. That’s if she agrees to my deal.

On the roof Charlie Tango, newly arrived from Boeing Field, is prepped and ready to fly, though there’s no sign of Stephan, who’s brought her down here. But Joe, who runs the helipad in Portland, is in the small office. He salutes when I see him. He’s older than my grandpa, and what he doesn’t know about flying is not worth knowing; he flew Sikorskys in Korea for casualty evacuation, and boy, does he have some hair-raising stories.

“Here’s your flight plan, Mr. Grey,” Joe says, his gravelly voice betraying his age. “All external checks are done. She’s ready and waiting, sir. You’re good to go.”

“Thank you, Joe.”

A quick glance at Ana tells me that she’s excited…and so am I. This is a first.

“Let’s go.” With her hand in mine once more, I lead Ana over the helipad to Charlie Tango. The safest Eurocopter in her class and a delight to fly. She’s my pride and joy. I hold the door open for Ana; she scrambles inside and I climb in behind her.

“Over there,” I order, pointing to the front passenger seat. “Sit. Don’t touch anything.” I’m amazed when she does as she’s told.

Once in her seat, she examines the array of instruments with a mixture of awe and enthusiasm. Crouching down beside her, I strap her into the seat harness, trying not to imagine her naked as I do it. I take a little longer than is necessary because this might be my last chance to be this close to her, my last chance to inhale her sweet, evocative scent. Once she knows about my predilections she may flee…on the other hand, she may embrace the lifestyle. The possibilities this conjures in my mind are almost overwhelming. She’s watching me intently, she’s so close…so lovely. I tighten the last strap. She’s not going anywhere. Not for an hour at least.

Suppressing my excitement, I whisper, “You’re secure. No escaping.” She inhales sharply. “Breathe, Anastasia,” I add, and caress her cheek. Holding her chin, I lean down and kiss her quickly. “I like this harness,” I mutter. I want to tell her I have others, in leather, in which I’d like to see her trussed and suspended from the ceiling. But I behave, sit down, and buckle up.

“Put your cans on.” I point to the headset in front of Ana. “I’m just going through all the preflight checks.” All instruments look good. I press the throttle to 1500 rpm, transponder to stand-by, and position beacon on. Everything is set and ready to go.

“Do you know what you’re doing?” she asks with wonder. I inform her that I’ve been a fully qualified pilot for four years. Her smile is infectious.

“You’re safe with me,” I reassure her, and add, “Well, while we’re flying.” I give her a wink, she beams, and I’m dazzled.

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