Home > Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian(5)

Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian(5)
E.L. James

“You wouldn’t want to ruin your clothing.” She gestures to my jeans.

I can’t resist. “I could always take them off.”

“Um.” She flushes beet red and stares down.

I put her out of her misery. “I’ll take some coveralls. Heaven forbid I should ruin any clothing.” Without a word, she turns and walks briskly up the aisle, and I follow in her enticing wake.

“Do you need anything else?” she says, sounding breathless as she hands me a pair of blue coveralls. She’s mortified, eyes still cast down. Christ, she does things to me.

“How’s the article coming along?” I ask, in the hope she might relax a little.

She looks up and gives me a brief relieved smile.


“I’m not writing it, Katherine is. Miss Kavanagh. My roommate, she’s the writer. She’s very happy with it. She’s the editor of the newspaper, and she was devastated that she couldn’t do the interview in person.”

It’s the longest sentence she’s uttered since we first met, and she’s talking about someone else, not herself. Interesting.

Before I can comment, she adds, “Her only concern is that she doesn’t have any original photographs of you.”

The tenacious Miss Kavanagh wants photographs. Publicity stills, eh? I can do that. It will allow me to spend time with the delectable Miss Steele.

“What sort of photographs does she want?”

She gazes at me for a moment, then shakes her head, perplexed, not knowing what to say.

“Well, I’m around. Tomorrow, perhaps…” I can stay in Portland. Work from a hotel. A room at The Heathman, perhaps. I’ll need Taylor to come down, bring my laptop and some clothes. Or Elliot—unless he’s screwing around, which is his usual MO over the weekend.

“You’d be willing to do a photo shoot?” She cannot contain her surprise.

I give her a brief nod. Yeah, I want to spend more time with you…

Steady, Grey.

“Kate will be delighted—if we can find a photographer.” She smiles and her face lights up like a cloudless dawn. She’s breathtaking.

“Let me know about tomorrow.” I pull my wallet from my jeans. “My card. It has my cell number on it. You’ll need to call before ten in the morning.” And if she doesn’t, I’ll head on back to Seattle and forget about this stupid venture.

The thought depresses me.

“Okay.” She continues to grin.

“Ana!” We both turn as a young man dressed in casual designer gear appears at the far end of the aisle. His eyes are all over Miss Anastasia Steele. Who the hell is this prick?

“Er, excuse me for a moment, Mr. Grey.” She walks toward him, and the asshole engulfs her in a gorilla-like hug. My blood runs cold. It’s a primal response.

Get your fucking paws off her.

I fist my hands and am only slightly mollified when she doesn’t return his hug.

They fall into a whispered conversation. Maybe Welch’s facts were wrong. Maybe this guy is her boyfriend. He looks the right age, and he can’t take his greedy little eyes off her. He holds her for a moment at arm’s length, examining her, then stands with his arm resting on her shoulder. It seems like a casual gesture, but I know he’s staking a claim and telling me to back off. She seems embarrassed, shifting from foot to foot.

Shit. I should go. I’ve overplayed my hand. She’s with this guy. Then she says something else to him and moves out of his reach, touching his arm, not his hand, shrugging him off. It’s clear they aren’t close.


“Er…Paul, this is Christian Grey. Mr. Grey, this is Paul Clayton. His brother owns the place.” She gives me an odd look that I don’t understand and continues, “I’ve known Paul ever since I’ve worked here, though we don’t see each other that often. He’s back from Princeton, where he’s studying business administration.” She’s babbling, giving me a long explanation and telling me they’re not together, I think. The boss’s brother, not a boyfriend. I’m relieved, but the extent of the relief I feel is unexpected, and it makes me frown. This woman has really gotten under my skin.

“Mr. Clayton.” My tone is deliberately clipped.

“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.

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