Fifty Shades Freed – Chapter 09

When I wake before the alarm the following morning, Christian is wrapped around me like ivy, his head on my chest, his arm around my waist, and his leg between mine. And he’s on my side of the bed. It’s always the same, if we argue the night before, this is how he ends up, coiled around me, making me hot and bothered.

Oh, Fifty. He is so needy on some level. Who would have thought? The familiar vision of Christian as a dirty, wretched little boy haunts me. Gently, I stroke his shorter hair and my melancholy recedes. He stirs, and his sleepy eyes meet mine. He blinks a couple of times as he wakes.

“Hi,” he murmurs and smiles.

“Hi.” I love waking to that smile.

He nuzzles my breasts and hums appreciatively deep in his throat. His hand travels down from my waist, skimming over the cool satin of my nightgown.

“What a tempting morsel you are,” he mutters. “But, tempting though you are,” he glances at the alarm, “I have to get up.” He stretches out, untangles himself from me, and rises.

I lie back, put my hands behind my head, and enjoy the show—Christian stripping for his shower. He is perfect. I wouldn’t change a hair on his head.

“Admiring the view, Mrs. Grey?” Christian arches a sardonic brow at me.

“It’s a mighty fine view, Mr. Grey.”

He grins and throws his pajama pants at me so they almost land on my face, but I catch them in time, giggling like a schoolgirl. With a wicked grin, he pulls the duvet off, puts one knee on the bed, grabs my ankles, and drags me toward him so that my nightdress rides up. I squeal, and he crawls up my body, trailing little kisses on my knee, my thigh . . . my . . . oh . . . Christian!

“Good morning, Mrs. Grey,” Mrs. Jones greets me. I flush, embarrassed remembering her tryst with Taylor the night before.

“Good morning,” I respond as she hands me a cup of tea. I sit on the bar stool beside my husband, who just looks radiant: freshly showered, his hair damp, wearing a crisp white shirt and that silver-gray tie. My favorite tie. I have fond memories of that tie.

“How are you, Mrs. Grey?” he asks, his eyes warm.

“I think you know, Mr. Grey.” I gaze up at him through my lashes.

He smirks. “Eat,” he orders. “You didn’t eat yesterday.”

Oh, bossy Fifty!

“That’s because you were being an arse.”

Mrs. Jones drops something that clatters into the sink, making me jump.

Christian seems oblivious to the noise. Ignoring her, he stares at me impassively.

“Arse or not—eat.” His tone is serious. No arguing with him.

“Okay! Picking up spoon, eating granola,” I mutter like a petulant teenager. I reach for the Greek yoghurt and spoon some onto my cereal, followed by a handful of blueberries. I glance at Mrs. Jones and she catches my eye. I smile, and she responds with a warm smile of her own. She has provided me with my breakfast of choice introduced to me on our honeymoon.

“I may have to go to New York later in the week.” Christian’s announcement interrupts my reverie.

“Oh.”

“It’ll mean an overnight. I want you to come with me.”

“Christian, I won’t get the time off.”

He gives me his oh-really-but-I’m-the-boss-stare.

I sigh. “I know you own the company, but I’ve been away for three weeks.

Please. How can you expect me to run the business if I’m never there? I’ll be fine here. I’m assuming you’ll take Taylor with you, but Sawyer and Ryan will be here—” I stop, because Christian is grinning at me. “What?” I snap.

“Nothing. Just you,” he says.

I frown. Is he laughing at me? Then a nasty thought pops into my mind.

“How are you getting to New York?”

“The company jet, why?”

“I just wanted to check if you were taking Charlie Tango.” My voice is quiet, and a shiver runs down my spine. I remember the last time he flew his helicopter.

A wave of nausea hits me as I recall the anxious hours I spent waiting for news.

That was possibly the lowest point in my life. I notice Mrs. Jones has stilled, too. I try to dismiss the idea.

“I wouldn’t fly to New York in Charlie Tango. She doesn’t have that kind of range. Besides, she won’t be back from the engineers for another two weeks.”

Thank heavens. My smile is partly from relief, but also the knowledge that the demise of Charlie Tango has occupied a great deal of Christian’s thoughts and time over the last few weeks.

“Well I’m glad she’s nearly fixed, but—” I stop. Can I tell him how nervous I’ll be when he flies next time?

“What?” he asks as he finishes his omelet.

I shrug.

“Ana?” he says, more sternly.

“I just . . . you know. Last time you flew in her . . . I thought, we thought, you’d—” I can’t finish the sentence, and Christian’s expression softens.

“Hey.” He caresses my face with the back of his knuckles. “That was sabotage.” A dark expression crosses his face, and for a moment I wonder if he knows who was responsible.

“I couldn’t bear to lose you,” I murmur.

“Five people have been fired because of that, Ana. It won’t happen again.”

“Five?”

He nods, his face serious.

Holy crap!

“That reminds me. There’s a gun in your desk.”

He frowns at my non sequitur and probably at my accusatory tone, though I don’t mean it that way. “It’s Leila’s,” he says finally.

“It’s fully loaded.”

“How do you know?” His frown deepens.

“I checked it yesterday.”

He scowls at me. “I don’t want you messing with guns. I hope you put the safety back on.”

I blink at him, momentarily stupefied. “Christian, there’s no safety on that revolver. Don’t you know anything about guns?”

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