Home > Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(10)

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(10)
E.L. James

I groan as he picks up speed.

"You are mine, Anastasia."

"Yes, yours," I pant.

"I take care of what's mine," he hisses and bites my ear.

I cry out.

"That's right, baby, I want to hear you." He snakes one hand around my waist while his other hand grasps my hip, and he pushes into me harder, making me cry out again. And the punishing rhythm starts. His breathing grows harsher and harsher, ragged, matching mine.

I feel the familiar quickening deep inside. Jeez again!

I am just sensation. This is what he does to me - takes my body and possesses it wholly so that I think of nothing but him. His magic is powerful, intoxicating. I'm a butterfly caught in his net, unable and unwilling to escape. I'm his... totally his.

"Come on, baby," he growls through gritted teeth and on cue, like the sorcerer's ap-prentice I am, I let go, and we find our release together.

I am lying curled up in his arms on sticky sheets. His front is pressed to my back, his nose in my hair.

"What I feel for you frightens me," I whisper.

He stills. "Me too, baby," he says quietly.

"What if you leave me?" The thought is horrific.

"I'm not going anywhere. I don't think I could ever have my fill of you, Anastasia."

I turn and gaze at him. His expression is serious, sincere. I lean over and kiss him gently. He smiles and reaches up to tuck my hair behind my ear.

"I've never felt the way I felt when you left, Anastasia. I would move heaven and earth to avoid feeling like that again." He sounds so sad, dazed even.

I kiss him again. I want to lighten our mood somehow, but Christian does it for me.

"Will you come with me to my father's summer party tomorrow? It's an annual charity thing. I said I'd go."

I smile, feeling suddenly shy.

"Of course I'll come." Oh shit. I have nothing to wear.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Tell me," he insists.

"I have nothing to wear."

Christian looks momentarily uncomfortable.

"Don't be mad, but I still have all those clothes for you at home. I am sure there are a couple of dresses in there."

I purse my lips. "Do you, now?" I mutter, my voice sardonic. I don't want to fight with him tonight. I need a shower.

The girl who looks like me is standing outside SIP. Hang on - she is me. I am pale and un-washed, and all my clothes are too big; I'm staring at her, and she's wearing my clothes -

happy, healthy.

"What do you have that I don't?" I ask her.

"Who are you?"

"I'm nobody... Who are you? Are you nobody, too... ?"

"Then there's a pair of us - don't tell, they'd banish us, you know..."1 She smiles, a slow, evil grimace that spreads across her face, and it's so chilling that I start to scream.

"Jesus, Ana!" Christian is shaking me awake.

I am so disorientated. I'm at home... in the dark... in bed with Christian. I shake my head, trying to clear my mind.

"Baby, are you okay? You were having a bad dream."

"Oh."

He switches on the lamp so we're bathed in its dim light. He gazes down at me, his face etched with concern.

"The girl," I whisper.

"What is it? What girl?" he asks soothingly.

"There was a girl outside SIP when I left this evening. She looked like me... but not really."

Christian stills, and as the light from the bedside lamp warms up, I see his face is ashen.

"When was this?" he whispers, dismayed. He sits up, staring down at me.

"When I left this afternoon. Do you know who she is?"

"Yes." He runs a hand through his hair.

"Who?"

His mouth presses into a hard line, but he says nothing.

"Who?" I press.

"It's Leila."

I swallow. The ex-sub! I remember Christian talking about her before we went gliding.

Suddenly, he's radiating tension. Something is going on.

"The girl who put 'Toxic' on your iPod?"

He glances at me anxiously.

"Yes," he says. "Did she say anything?"

"She said, 'what do you have that I don't have?' and when I asked who she was, she said, 'nobody.' "

Christian closes his eyes as if in pain. Oh no. What's happened? What does she mean to him?

My scalp prickles as adrenaline spikes through my body. What if she means a lot to him? Perhaps he misses her? I know so little about his past... um, relationships. She must have had a contract, and she would have done what he wanted, given him what he needed gladly.

1 Emily Dickinson, "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" first stanza.

Oh no - when I can't. The thought makes me nauseous.

Climbing out of bed, Christian drags on his jeans and heads into the main room. A glance at my alarm clock shows it's five in the morning. I roll out of bed, putting his white shirt on, and follow him.

Holy shit, he's on the phone.

"Yes, outside SIP, yesterday... early evening," he says quietly. He turns to me as I move toward the kitchen and asks me directly, "What time exactly?"

"About ten to six?" I mumble. Who on earth is he calling at this hour? What's Leila done? He relays the information to whoever's on the line, not taking his eyes off me, his expression dark and earnest.

"Find out how... Yes... I wouldn't have said so, but then I wouldn't have thought she could do this." He closes his eyes as if he's in pain. "I don't know how that will go down... Yes, I'll talk to her... Yes... I know... Follow it up and let me know. Just find her, Welch - she's in trouble. Find her." He hangs up.

"Do you want some tea?" I ask. Tea, Ray's answer to every crisis and the only thing he does well in the kitchen. I fill the kettle with water.

"Actually, I'd like to go back to bed." His look tells me that it's not to sleep.

"Well, I need some tea. Would you like to join me for a cup?" I want to know what's going on. I will not be sidetracked by sex.

He runs his hand through his hair in exasperation. "Yes, please," he says, but I can tell he's irritated.

I put the kettle on the stove and busy myself with teacups and the teapot. My anxiety level has shot to defcon one. Is he going to tell me the problem? Or am I going to have to dig? I sense his eyes on me - sense his uncertainty, and his anger is palpable. I glance up, and his eyes glitter with apprehension.

"What is it?" I ask softly.

He shakes his head.

"You're not going to tell me?"

He sighs and closes his eyes. "No."

"Why?"

"Because it shouldn't concern you. I don't want you tangled up in this."

"It shouldn't concern me, but it does. She found me and accosted me outside my office.

How does she know about me? How does she know where I work? I think I have a right to know what's going on."

He runs a hand through his hair again, radiating frustration as if waging some internal battle.

"Please?" I ask softly.

His mouth sets into a hard line, and he rolls his eyes at me.

"Okay," he says, resigned. "I have no idea how she found you. Maybe the photograph of us in Portland, I don't know." He sighs again, and I sense his frustration is directed at himself.

I wait patiently, pouring boiling water into the teapot as he paces back and forth. After a beat he continues.

"While I was with you in Georgia, Leila turned up at my apartment unannounced and made a scene in front of Gail."

"Gail?"

"Mrs. Jones."

"What do you mean, 'made a scene'?"

He glares at me, appraising.

"Tell me. You're keeping something back." My tone is more forceful than I feel.

He blinks at me, surprised. "Ana, I - " he stops.

"Please?"

He sighs in defeat. "She made a haphazard attempt to open a vein."

"Oh no!" That explains the bandage on her wrist.

"Gail got her to hospital. But Leila discharged herself before I could get there."

Crap. What does this mean? Suicidal? Why?

"The shrink who saw her called it a typical cry for help. He didn't believe her to be truly at risk - one step from suicidal ideation, he called it. But I'm not convinced. I've been trying to track her down since then to get her some help."

"Did she say anything to Mrs. Jones?"

He gazes at me. He looks really uncomfortable.

"Not much," he says eventually, but I know he's not telling me everything.

I distract myself with pouring tea into teacups. So Leila wants back into Christian's life and chooses a suicide attempt to attract his attention? Whoa... scary. But effective.

Christian left Georgia to be at her side, but she disappears before he gets there? How odd.

"You can't find her? What about her family?"

"They don't know where she is. Neither does her husband."

"Husband?"

"Yes," he says distractedly, "she's been married for about two years."

What? "So she was with you while she was married?" Holy fuck. He really has no boundaries.

"No! Good God, no. She was with me nearly three years ago. Then she left and married this guy shortly afterward."

Oh. "So why is she trying to get your attention now?"

He shakes his head sadly. "I don't know. All we've managed to find out is that she ran out on her husband about four months ago."

"Let me get this straight. She hasn't been your submissive for three years?"

"About two and a half years."

"And she wanted more."

"Yes."

"But you didn't?"

"You know this."

"So she left you."

"Yes."

"So why is she coming to you now?"

"I don't know." And the tone of this voice tells me that he at least has a theory.

"But you suspect..."

His eyes narrow perceptibly with anger. "I suspect it has something to do with you."

Me? What would she want with me? "What do you have that I don't?"

I stare at Fifty, magnificently na**d from the waist up. I have him; he's mine. That's what I have, and yet she looked like me: same dark hair and pale skin. I frown at the thought. Yes... what do I have that she doesn't?

"Why didn't you tell me yesterday?" he asks softly.

"I forgot about her." I shrug apologetically. "You know, drinks after work, at the end of my first week. You turning up at the bar and your... testosterone rush with Jack, and then when we were here. It slipped my mind. You have a habit of making me forget things."

"Testosterone rush?" His lips twitch.

"Yes. The pissing contest."

"I'll show you a testosterone rush."

"Wouldn't you rather have a cup of tea?"

"No, Anastasia, I wouldn't."

His eyes burn into me, scorching me with his I-want-you-and-I-want-you-now look.

Fuck... it's so hot.

"Forget about her. Come." He holds out his hand.

My inner goddess does three back flips over the gym floor as I grasp his hand.

I wake, too warm, and I'm wrapped around a na**d Christian Grey. Even though he's fast asleep, he's holding me close. Soft morning light filters through the curtains. My head is on his chest, my leg tangled with his, my arm across his stomach.

I raise my head slightly, scared that I might wake him. He looks so young, so relaxed in sleep, so utterly beautiful. I can't quite believe this Adonis is mine, all mine.

Hmm... Reaching up, I tentatively stroke his chest, running my fingertips through the smattering of hair, and he doesn't stir. Holy cow. I can't quite believe it. He's really mine -

for a few more precious moments. I lean over and tenderly kiss one of his scars. He moans softly but doesn't wake, and I smile. I kiss another and his eyes open.

"Hi." I grin at him, guiltily.

"Hi," he answers warily. "What are you doing?"

"Looking at you." I run my fingers down his happy trail. He captures my hand, narrows his eyes, then smiles a brilliant Christian-at-ease smile, and I relax. My secret touching stays secret.

Oh... why won't you let me touch you?

Suddenly he moves on top of me, pressing me into the mattress, his hands on mine, warning me. He strokes my nose with his.

"I think you're up to no good, Miss Steele," he accuses but his smile remains.

"I like being up to no good near you."

"You do?" he asks and kisses me lightly on the lips. "Sex or breakfast?" he asks, his eyes dark but full of humor. His erection is digging into me, and I tilt my pelvis up to meet him."Good choice," he murmurs against my throat, as he trails kisses down to my breast.

I stand at my chest of drawers, staring at my mirror, trying to coax my hair into some semblance of style - really, it's just too long. I'm in jeans and a T-shirt, and Christian, freshly showered, is dressing behind me. I gaze at his body hungrily.

"How often do you work out?" I ask.

"Every weekday," he says, buttoning his fly.

"What do you do?"

"Run, weights, kickbox." He shrugs.

"Kickbox?"

"Yes, I have a personal trainer, an ex-Olympic contender who teaches me. His name is Claude. He's very good. You'd like him."

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