For the first time in my life, I voluntarily go for a run. I find my nasty, never-used sneakers, some sweat pants, and a t-shirt. I put my hair in pigtails, blushing at the memories they bring back, and I plug in my iPod. I can’t sit in front of that marvel of technology and look at or read any more disturbing material. I need to expend some of this excess, enervating, energy. Quite frankly, I have a mind to run to the Heathman hotel and just demand sex from the control freak. But that’s five miles, and I don’t think I’ll be able to run one mile, let alone five, and of course, he might turn me down which would be beyond humiliating.
Kate is walking from her car as I head out of the door. She nearly drops her shopping when she sees me. Ana Steele in sneakers. I wave and don’t stop for the inquisition. I need some serious alone time. Snow Patrol blaring in my ears, I set off into the opal and aquamarine dusk.
I pace through the park. What am I going to do I want him, but on his termsI just don’t know. Perhaps I should negotiate what I want. Go through that ridiculous contract line by line and say what is acceptable and what isn’t. My research has told me that legally it’s unenforceable. He must know that. I figure that it just sets up the parameters of the relationship. It illustrates what I can expect from him and what he expects from me – my total submission. Am I prepared to give him thatAm I even capable?
I am plagued by one question – why is he like thisIs it because he was seduced at such a young ageI just don’t know. He’s still such a mystery.
I stop beside a large spruce and put my hands on my knees, breathing hard, dragging precious air into my lungs. Oh, this feels good, cathartic. I can feel my resolve hardening.
Yes. I need to tell him what’s okay and what isn’t. I need to email him my thoughts, and then we can discuss these on Wednesday. I take a deep cleansing breath, then jog back to the apartment.
Kate has been shopping, as only she can, for clothes for her holiday to Barbados.
Mainly bikinis and matching sarongs. She will look fabulous in all of them, yet she still makes me sit and comment while she tries on each and every one. There are only so many ways one can say – you look fabulous Kate. She has a curvy, slim figure to die for. She doesn’t do it on purpose, I know, but I haul my sorry, perspiration clad, old t-shirt, sweat pants, and sneakers ass into my room on the pretext of packing more boxes. Could I feel any more inadequateTaking the awesome free technology with me, I set the laptop up on my desk. I email Christian.
From: Anastasia Steele
Subject: Shocked of WSUV
Date: May 23 2011 20:33
To: Christian Grey
Okay, I’ve seen enough.
It was nice knowing you.
I press send, hugging myself, laughing at my little joke. Will he find it as funnyOh shit
– probably not. Christian Grey is not famed for his sense of humor. But I know it exists, I’ve experienced it. Perhaps I’ve gone too far. I wait for his answer.
I wait… and wait. I glance at my alarm clock. Ten minutes have passed.
To distract myself from the anxiety that blooms in my belly, I start doing what I told Kate I would be doing – packing up my room. I begin by cramming my books into a crate.
By nine, I’ve heard nothing. Perhaps he’s out. I pout petulantly as I plug my iPod ear buds in, listen to Snow Patrol, and sit down at my small desk to re-read the contract and make my comments.
I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye, I don’t know, but when I do, he’s standing in the doorway of my bedroom watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel pants and a white linen shirt, gently twirling his car keys. I pull my ear buds out and freeze . Fuck!
“Good evening, Anastasia.” His voice is cool, his expression completely guarded and unreadable. The capacity to speak deserts me. Damn Kate for letting him in here with no warning. Vaguely, I’m aware that I’m still in my sweats, un-showered, yucky, and he’s just gloriously yummy, his pants doing that hanging from the hips thing, and what’s more, he’s here in my bedroom.
“I felt that your email warranted a reply in person,” he explains dryly.
I open my mouth and then close it again, twice. The joke is on me. Never in this or any alternative universe did I expect him to drop everything and turn up here.
“May I sit?” he asks, his eyes now dancing with humor – thank heavens – maybe he’ll see the funny side?
I nod. The power of speech remains elusive. Christian Grey is sitting on my bed.
“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” he says.
I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no – there’s still only the door or window.
My room is functional but cozy – sparse white wicker furniture and a white iron double bed with a patchwork quilt, made by my mother when she was in her folksy American quilting phase. It’s all pale blue and cream.
“It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” he murmurs. Not at the moment… not with you here. Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose, I breathe.
He smiles at me.
“I’m still at the Heathman.”
I know that.
“Would you like a drink?” Politeness wins out over everything else I’d like to say.
“No, thank you, Anastasia.” He smiles a dazzling, crooked smile, his head cocked slightly to one side.