Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(2)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(2)
E.L. James

"Maybe you're just lucky." This isn't on Kate's list - but he's so arrogant. His eyes flare momentarily in surprise.

"I don't subscribe to luck or chance, Miss Steele. The harder I work the more luck I seem to have. It really is all about having the right people on your team and directing their energies accordingly. I think it was Harvey Firestone who said 'the growth and develop-ment of people is the highest calling of leadership.'"

"You sound like a control freak." The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them."Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele," he says without a trace of humor in his smile. I look at him, and he holds my gaze steadily, impassive. My heartbeat quickens, and my face flushes again.

Why does he have such an unnerving effect on meHis overwhelming good-looks maybeThe way his eyes blaze at meThe way he strokes his index finger against his lower lipI wish he'd stop doing that.

"Besides, immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control things," he continues, his voice soft.

"Do you feel that you have immense power?" Control Freak.

"I employ over forty thousand people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain sense of responsibility - power, if you will. If I were to decide I was no longer interested in the telecommunications business and sell up, twenty thousand people would struggle to make their mortgage payments after a month or so."

My mouth drops open. I am staggered by his lack of humility.

"Don't you have a board to answer to?" I ask, disgusted.

"I own my company. I don't have to answer to a board." He raises an eyebrow at me.

I flush. Of course, I would know this if I had done some research. But holy crap, he's so arrogant. I change tack.

"And do you have any interests outside your work?"

"I have varied interests, Miss Steele." A ghost of a smile touches his lips. "Very varied." And for some reason, I'm confounded and heated by his steady gaze. His eyes are alight with some wicked thought.

"But if you work so hard, what do you do to chill out?"

"Chill out?" He smiles, revealing perfect white teeth. I stop breathing. He really is beautiful. No one should be this good-looking.

"Well, to 'chill out' as you put it - I sail, I fly, I indulge in various physical pursuits."

He shifts in his chair. "I'm a very wealthy man, Miss Steele, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies."

I glance quickly at Kate's questions, wanting to get off this subject.

"You invest in manufacturing. Why, specifically?" I ask. Why does he make me so uncomfortable?

"I like to build things. I like to know how things work: what makes things tick, how to construct and deconstruct. And I have a love of ships. What can I say?"

"That sounds like your heart talking rather than logic and facts."

His mouth quirks up, and he stares appraisingly at me.

"Possibly. Though there are people who'd say I don't have a heart."

"Why would they say that?"

"Because they know me well." His lip curls in a wry smile.

"Would your friends say you're easy to get to know?" And I regret the question as soon as I say it. It's not on Kate's list.

"I'm a very private person, Miss Steele. I go a long way to protect my privacy. I don't often give interviews," he trails off.

"Why did you agree to do this one?"

"Because I'm a benefactor of the University, and for all intents and purposes, I couldn't get Miss Kavanagh off my back. She badgered and badgered my PR people, and I admire that kind of tenacity."

I know how tenacious Kate can be. That's why I'm sitting here squirming uncomfortably under his penetrating gaze, when I should be studying for my exams.

"You also invest in farming technologies. Why are you interested in this area?"

"We can't eat money, Miss Steele, and there are too many people on this planet who don't have enough to eat."

"That sounds very philanthropic. Is it something you feel passionately aboutFeeding the world's poor?"

He shrugs, very non-committal.

"It's shrewd business," he murmurs, though I think he's being disingenuous. It doesn't make sense - feeding the world's poorI can't see the financial benefits of this, only the virtue of the ideal. I glance at the next question, confused by his attitude.

"Do you have a philosophyIf so, what is it?"

"I don't have a philosophy as such. Maybe a guiding principle - Carnegie's: 'A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.' I'm very singular, driven. I like control - of myself and those around me."

"So you want to possess things?" You are a control freak.

"I want to deserve to possess them, but yes, bottom line, I do."

"You sound like the ultimate consumer."

"I am." He smiles, but the smile doesn't touch his eyes. Again this is at odds with someone who wants to feed the world, so I can't help thinking that we're talking about something else, but I'm absolutely mystified as to what it is. I swallow hard. The temperature in the room is rising or maybe it's just me. I just want this interview to be over. Surely Kate has enough material nowI glance at the next question.

"You were adopted. How far do you think that's shaped the way you are?" Oh, this is personal. I stare at him, hoping he's not offended. His brow furrows.

"I have no way of knowing."

My interest is piqued.

"How old were you when you were adopted?"

"That's a matter of public record, Miss Steele." His tone is stern. I flush, again. Crap.

Yes of course - if I'd known I was doing this interview, I would have done some research.

I move on quickly.

"You've had to sacrifice a family life for your work."

"That's not a question." He's terse.

"Sorry." I squirm, and he's made me feel like an errant child. I try again. "Have you had to sacrifice a family life for your work?"

"I have a family. I have a brother and a sister and two loving parents. I'm not interested in extending my family beyond that."

"Are you gay, Mr. Grey?"

He inhales sharply, and I cringe, mortified. Crap. Why didn't I employ some kind of filter before I read this straight outHow can I tell him I'm just reading the questions?

Damn Kate and her curiosity!

"No Anastasia, I'm not." He raises his eyebrows, a cool gleam in his eyes. He does not look pleased.

"I apologize. It's um... written here." It's the first time he's said my name. My heartbeat has accelerated, and my cheeks are heating up again. Nervously, I tuck my loosened hair behind my ear.

He cocks his head to one side.

"These aren't your own questions?"

The blood drains from my head. Oh no.

"Err... no. Kate - Miss Kavanagh - she compiled the questions."

"Are you colleagues on the student paper?" Oh crap. I have nothing to do with the student paper. It's her extra-curricular activity, not mine. My face is aflame.

"No. She's my roommate."

He rubs his chin in quiet deliberation, his gray eyes appraising me.

"Did you volunteer to do this interview?" he asks, his voice deadly quiet.

Hang on, who's supposed to be interviewing whomHis eyes burn into me, and I'm compelled to answer with the truth.

"I was drafted. She's not well." My voice is weak and apologetic.

"That explains a great deal."

There's a knock at the door, and Blonde Number Two enters.

"Mr. Grey, forgive me for interrupting, but your next meeting is in two minutes."

"We're not finished here, Andrea. Please cancel my next meeting."

Andrea hesitates, gaping at him. She's appears lost. He turns his head slowly to face her and raises his eyebrows. She flushes bright pink. Oh good. It's not just me.

"Very well, Mr. Grey," she mutters, then exits. He frowns, and turns his attention back to me.

"Where were we, Miss Steele?"

Oh, we're back to 'Miss Steele' now.

"Please don't let me keep you from anything."

"I want to know about you. I think that's only fair." His gray eyes are alight with curiosity. Double crap. Where's he going with thisHe places his elbows on the arms of the chair and steeples his fingers in front of his mouth. His mouth is very... distracting. I swallow.

"There's not much to know," I say, flushing again.

"What are your plans after you graduate?"

I shrug, thrown by his interest. Come to Seattle with Kate, find a place, find a job. I haven't really thought beyond my finals.

"I haven't made any plans, Mr. Grey. I just need to get through my final exams."

Which I should be studying for now rather than sitting in your palatial, swanky, sterile office, feeling uncomfortable under your penetrating gaze.

"We run an excellent internship program here," he says quietly. I raise my eyebrows in surprise. Is he offering me a job?

"Oh. I'll bear that in mind," I murmur, completely confounded. "Though I'm not sure I'd fit in here." Oh no. I'm musing out loud again.

"Why do you say that?" He cocks his head to one side, intrigued, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.

"It's obvious, isn't it?" I'm uncoordinated, scruffy, and I'm not blonde.

"Not to me," he murmurs. His gaze is intense, all humor gone, and strange muscles deep in my belly clench suddenly. I tear my eyes away from his scrutiny and stare blindly down at my knotted fingers. What's going on I have to go - now. I lean forward to retrieve the recorder.

"Would you like me to show you around?" he asks.

"I'm sure you're far too busy, Mr. Grey, and I do have a long drive."

"You're driving back to WSU in Vancouver?" He sounds surprised, anxious even. He glances out of the window. It's begun to rain. "Well, you'd better drive carefully." His tone is stern, authoritative. Why should he care"Did you get everything you need?" he adds.

"Yes sir," I reply, packing the recorder into my satchel. His eyes narrow, speculatively.

"Thank you for the interview, Mr. Grey."

"The pleasure's been all mine," he says, polite as ever.

As I rise, he stands and holds out his hand.

"Until we meet again, Miss Steele." And it sounds like a challenge, or a threat, I'm not sure which. I frown. When will we ever meet againI shake his hand once more, astounded that that odd current between us is still there. It must be my nerves.

"Mr. Grey." I nod at him. Moving with lithe athletic grace to the door, he opens it wide.

"Just ensuring you make it through the door, Miss Steele." He gives me a small smile.

Obviously, he's referring to my earlier less-than-elegant entry into his office. I flush.

"That's very considerate, Mr. Grey," I snap, and his smile widens. I'm glad you find me entertaining, I glower inwardly, walking into the foyer. I'm surprised when he follows me out. Andrea and Olivia both look up, equally surprised.

"Did you have a coat?" Grey asks.

"Yes." Olivia leaps up and retrieves my jacket, which Grey takes from her before she can hand it to me. He holds it up and, feeling ridiculously self-conscious, I shrug it on.

Grey places his hands for a moment on my shoulders. I gasp at the contact. If he notices my reaction, he gives nothing away. His long index finger presses the button summoning the elevator, and we stand waiting - awkwardly on my part, coolly self-possessed on his.

The doors open, and I hurry in desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he's leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It's distracting. His burning gray eyes gaze at me.

"Anastasia," he says as a farewell.

"Christian," I reply. And mercifully, the doors close.

Chapter Two

My heart is pounding. The elevator arrives on the first floor, and I scramble out as soon as the doors slide open, stumbling once, but fortunately not sprawling on to the immaculate sandstone floor. I race for the wide glass doors, and I'm free in the bracing, cleansing, damp air of Seattle. Raising my face, I welcome the cool refreshing rain. I close my eyes and take a deep, purifying breath, trying to recover what's left of my equilibrium.

No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why.

Is it his looksHis civilityWealthPowerI don't understand my irrational reaction.

I breathe an enormous sigh of relief. What in heaven's name was that all aboutLeaning against one of the steel pillars of the building, I valiantly attempt to calm down and gather my thoughts. I shake my head. Holy crap - what was thatMy heart steadies to its regular rhythm, and I can breathe normally again. I head for the car.

As I leave the city limits behind, I begin to feel foolish and embarrassed as I replay the interview in my mind. Surely, I'm over-reacting to something that's imaginary. Okay, so he's very attractive, confident, commanding, at ease with himself - but on the flip side, he's arrogant, and for all his impeccable manners, he's autocratic and cold. Well, on the surface.

An involuntary shiver runs down my spine. He may be arrogant, but then he has a right to be - he's accomplished so much at such a young age. He doesn't suffer fools gladly, but why should heAgain, I'm irritated that Kate didn't give me a brief biography.

Hot Novels
  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Chris
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Never Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #2)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine‚Äôs Peculi
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • Fallen Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #1)
  • Forever Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #3)
  • Ugly Love
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3)
  • Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
  • The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coinc
  • Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
  • Uprooted