Home > Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)(11)

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)(11)
E.L. James

"This is hardly ostentatious," Christian says, a tad defensively.

"I know. It's lovely. The best honeymoon a girl could want."

"Really?" he says, genuinely surprised. And he smiles his shy smile.

"Of course it is."

"We've only got two more days. Is there anything you'd like to see?

Anything you'd like to do?"

"Just be with you," I murmur. Rising from the table, he comes around and kisses me on the forehead.

"Well, can you do without me for about an hour? I need to check my e-mails, find out what's happening at home."

"Sure," I say brightly, trying to hide my disappointment that I'll be without him for an hour. Is it freaky that I want to be with him all the time? My subconscious presses her lips into a narrow, unattractive line and nods vigorously.

"Thank you for the camera," he murmurs and heads for the study.

Back in our cabin I decide to catch up on my correspondence and open my laptop. There are e-mails from my mom and from Kate, giving me the latest gossip from home and asking how the honeymoon is going. Well, great, until someone decided to burn down GEH Inc. . . . As I finish my response to my mom, an e-mail from Kate hits my inbox.

From: Katherine L. Kavanagh

Date: August 17, 2011 11:45 PST

To: Anastasia Grey

Subject: OMG!!!!

Ana, just heard about the fire at Christian's office. Do you think it's arson?

K xox

Rose is online! I jump on to my newfound toy - Skype messaging -

and see that she's available. I quickly type a message.

Ana: Hey are you there?

Kate: YES, Ana! How are you? How's the honeymoon? Did you see my e-mail? Does Christian know about the fire?

Ana: I'm good. Honeymoon's great. Yes, I saw your e-mail. Yes, Christian knows.

Kate: I thought he would. News is sketchy on what happened. And Elliot won't tell me anything. 

Ana: Are you fishing for a story?

Kate: You know me too well.

Ana: Christian hasn't told me much.

Kate: Elliot heard from Grace!

Oh no - I'm sure Christian doesn't want this broadcast all over Seattle. I try my patented distract-tenacious-Kavanagh technique. Ana: How are Elliot and Ethan?

Kate: Ethan has been accepted into the psych course at Seattle for his master's degree. Elliot is adorable. Ana: Way to go, Ethan.

Kate: How's our favorite ex-dom?

Ana: Kate!

Kate: What?

Ana: YOU KNOW WHAT!

Kate: K. Sorry

Ana: He's fine. More than fine. 

Kate: Well, as long as you're happy, I'm happy.

Ana: I'm blissfully happy.

Kate:  I have to run. Can we talk later?

Ana: Not sure. See if I am online. Time zones suck!

Kate: They do. Love you, Ana.

Ana: Love you, too. Laters. x

Kate: Laters. <3

Trust Kate to be on the trail of this story. I roll my eyes and shut Skype down before Christian sees the chat. He wouldn't appreciate the ex-Dom comment - and I'm not sure he's entirely ex . . . I sigh loudly. Kate knows everything, since our tipsy evening three weeks before the wedding when I finally succumbed to the Kavanagh inquisition. It was a relief to finally talk to someone. I glance at my watch. It's been about an hour since dinner, and I am missing my husband. I head back on deck to see if he's finished his work.

I am in the Hall of Mirrors and Christian is standing beside me, smiling down at me with love and affection. You look like an angel. I beam back at him, but when I glance into the looking glass I'm standing on my own and the room is gray and drab. No! My head whips back to his face, to find his smile is sad and wistful. Reaching up, he tucks my hair behind my ear. Then he turns wordlessly and walks away slowly, the sound of his footsteps echoing off the mirrors as he paces the enormous room to the ornate double doors at the end . . . a man on his own, a man with no reflection . . . and I wake, gasping for air, as panic seizes me.

"Hey," he whispers from beside me in the darkness, his voice filled with concern.

Oh, he's here. He's safe. Relief courses through me.

"Oh, Christian," I mumble, trying to bring my pounding heartbeat under control. He wraps me in his arms, and it's only then that I realize I have tears streaming down my face.

"Ana, what is it?" He strokes my cheek, wiping away my tears, and I can hear his anguish.

"Nothing. A silly nightmare."

He kisses my forehead and my tearstained cheeks, comforting me.

"Just a bad dream, baby," he murmurs. "I've got you. I'll keep you safe."

Drinking in his scent, I curl around him, trying to ignore the loss and devastation I felt in my dream, and in that moment, I know that my deepest, darkest fear would be losing him.

Chapter Five

I stir, instinctively reaching over to Christian's side of the bed only to feel his absence. Shit! I wake instantly and look anxiously around the cabin. Christian is watching me from the small, upholstered armchair by the bed. Stooping down, he places something on the floor, then moves and stretches out on the bed beside me. He's dressed in his cutoffs and a gray T-shirt.

"Hey, don't panic. Everything's fine," he says, his voice gentle and soothing - like he's talking to a cornered wild animal. Tenderly, he smooths the hair back from my face and I calm immediately. I see him trying and failing to hide his own concern.

"You've been so jumpy these last couple of days," he murmurs, his eyes wide and serious.

"I'm okay, Christian." I give him my brightest smile because I don't want him to know how worried I am about the arson incident. The painful recollection of how I felt when Charlie Tango was sabotaged and Christian went missing - the hollow emptiness, the indescribable pain - keeps resurfacing; the memory nagging me and gnawing at my heart. Keeping the smile fixed on my face, I try to repress it.

"Were you watching me sleep?"

"Yes," he says gazing at me steadily, studying me. "You were talking."

"Oh?" Shit! What was I saying?

"You're worried," he adds, his eyes filled with concern. I blink at him. Is there nothing I can keep from this man? He leans forward and kisses me between my brows.

"When you frown, a little V forms just here. It's soft to kiss. Don't worry baby, I'll look after you."

"It's not me I'm worried about - it's you," I grumble. "Who's looking after you?"

He smiles indulgently at my tone. "I'm big enough and ugly enough to look after myself. Come. Get up. There's one thing I'd like to do before we head home." He grins at me, a big boyish yes-I'm-reallyonly-twenty-eight grin, and swats my behind. I yelp, startled, and realize that today we're going back to Seattle and my melancholy blossoms. I don't want to leave. I've relished being with him 24-7, and I'm not ready to share him with his company and his family. We've had a blissful honeymoon. With a few ups and downs, I admit, but that's normal for a newly married couple, surely?

But Christian cannot contain his boyish excitement, and despite my dark thoughts, it's infectious. When he rises gracefully off the bed, I follow, intrigued. What has he got in mind?

Christian straps the key to my wrist.

"You want me to drive?"

"Yes." Christian grins. "That's not too tight?"

"It's fine. Is that why you're wearing a life jacket?" I arch my eyebrow.

"Yes."

I can't help my giggle. "Such confidence in my driving capabilities, Mr. Grey."

"As ever, Mrs. Grey."

"Well, don't lecture me."

Christian holds his hands up in a defensive gesture, but he's smiling.

"Would I dare?"

"Yes you would, and yes you do, and we can't pull over and argue on the sidewalk here."

"Fair point well made, Mrs. Grey. Are we going to stand on this platform all day debating your driving skills, or are we going to have some fun?"

"Fair point well made, Mr. Grey." I grasp the handlebars of the Jet Ski and clamber on. Christian climbs on behind me and kicks us away from the yacht. Taylor and two of the deckhands look on in amusement. Sliding forward, Christian wraps his arms around me and snuggles his thighs against mine. Yes, this is what I like about this form of transport. I insert in the ignition key and push the start button, and the engine roars into life.

"Ready?" I shout to Christian over the noise.

"As I'll ever be," he says, his mouth close to my ear. Gently, I pull on the lever and the Jet Ski moves away from the Fair Lady, far too sedately for my liking. Christian tightens his embrace. I pull on the gas some more, and we shoot forward and I'm delighted when we don't stall.

"Whoa!" Christian calls from behind, but the exhilaration in his voice is palpable. I speed past the Fair Lady toward the open sea. We're anchored outside the Port de Plaisance de Saint-Claude-du-Var, Nice airport nestling in the distance, built into the Mediterranean, or so it seems. I've heard the odd plane landing since we arrived last night. I decide we need to take a closer look.

We shoot toward it, skipping rapidly over the waves. I love this, and I'm thrilled Christian's letting me drive. All the worry I've felt over the past two days melts away as we skim toward the airport.

"Next time we do this we'll have two Jet Skis," Christian shouts. I grin - the thought of racing him is thrilling.

As we zoom over the cool blue sea toward what looks like the end of the runway, the thundering roar of a jet overhead suddenly startles me as it comes in to land. It's so loud I panic, swerving and hitting the throttle at the same time, mistaking it for a brake.

"Ana!" Christian shouts, but it's too late. I'm catapulted off the side of the Jet Ski, arms and legs flailing, taking Christian with me in a spectacular splash.

Screaming, I plunge into the crystal blue sea and swallow a nasty mouthful of the Mediterranean. The water is cold this far from the shore, but I surface within a split second, courtesy of my life jacket. Coughing and spluttering, I wipe the seawater from my eyes and look around for Christian. He's already swimming toward me. The Jet Ski floats inoffensively a few feet away from us, its engine silent.

"You okay?" His eyes are full of panic, as he reaches me.

"Yes," I croak, but I cannot contain my elation. See, Christian?

That's the worst that can happen on a Jet Ski! He pulls me into his embrace, then grabs my head between his hands, examining my face closely.

"See, that wasn't so bad!" I grin as we tread water. Eventually he smirks at me, obviously relieved. "No, I guess it wasn't. Except I'm wet," he grumbles, but his tone is playful.

"I'm wet, too."

"I like you wet." He leers.

"Christian!" I scold, trying for faux righteous indignation. He grins, looking gorgeous, then leans in and kisses me hard. When he pulls away, I'm breathless. His eyes are darker, hooded and heated, and I'm warm in spite of the cold water.

"Come. Let's head back. Now we have to shower. I'll drive."

We laze in the British Airways first class lounge at Heathrow in London, waiting for our connecting flight to Seattle. Christian is engrossed in the Financial Times. I reach over for his camera, wanting to take some photographs of him. He looks so sexy in his trademark white linen shirt and jeans, and his aviator specs tucked into the V of his open shirt. The flash disturbs him. He blinks up at me and smiles his shy smile.

"How are you, Mrs. Grey?" he asks.

"Sad to be going home," I murmur. "I like having you to myself."

He reaches out and clasps my hand. Lifting it to his lips, he grazes my knuckles with a sweet kiss. "Me too."

"But?" I ask, hearing that small word unsaid at the end of his simple statement.

He frowns. "But?" he repeats disingenuously. I tilt my head to one side, gazing at him with the tell me expression I have been perfecting over the last couple of days. He sighs, putting his newspaper down. "I want this arsonist caught and out of our lives."

"Oh." That seems fair enough, but I'm surprised by his bluntness.

"I'll have Welch's balls on a platter if he lets anything like that happen again." A shiver runs down my spine at his menacing tone. He gazes at me impassively, and I don't know if he's daring me to be flippant or what. I do the only thing I can think of to ease the sudden tension between us and raise the camera and snap another photograph.

"Hey, sleepyhead, we're home," Christian murmurs.

"Hmm," I mumble, reluctant to leave my tantalizing dream of Christian and me on a picnic blanket at Kew Gardens. I am so tired. Travelling is exhausting, even in first class. We've been up for eighteen or more hours straight, I think - in my fatigue I've lost track. I hear my door open, and Christian is leaning over me. He unbuckles my seat belt and lifts me into his arms, waking me.

"Hey, I can walk," I protest sleepily.

He snorts. "I need to carry you over the threshold."

I put my arms around his neck. "Up all thirty floors?" I give him a challenging smile.

"Mrs. Grey, I am very pleased to announce that you've put on some weight."

"What?"

He grins. "So if you don't mind, we'll use the elevator." He narrows his eyes at me, though I know he's teasing.

Taylor opens the doors to the Escala lobby and smiles. "Welcome home Mr. Grey, Mrs. Grey."

"Thanks, Taylor," says Christian.

I give Taylor the briefest of smiles and watch him head back to the Audi where Sawyer waits at the wheel.

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