There is light everywhere. Bright, warm, piercing light, and I endeavor to keep it at bay for a few more precious minutes. I want to hide, just a few more minutes. But the glare is too strong, and I finally succumb to wakefulness. A glorious Seattle morning greets me –
sunshine pouring through the full-height windows and flooding the room with too-bright light. Why didn’t we close the blinds last night. I am in Christian Grey’s vast bed minus one Christian Grey.
I lie back for a moment staring through the windows at the lofty vista of Seattle’s skyline. Life in the clouds sure feels unreal. A fantasy – a castle in the air, adrift from the ground, safe from the realities of life – far away from neglect, hunger, and crack-whore mothers. I shudder to think what he went through as a small child, and I understand why he lives here, isolated, surrounded by beautiful, precious works of art – so far removed from where he started… mission statement indeed. I frown because it still doesn’t explain why I can’t touch him.
Ironically, I feel the same up here in his lofty tower. I’m adrift from reality. I’m in this fantasy apartment, having fantasy sex with my fantasy boyfriend. When the grim reality is he wants a special arrangement, though he’s said he’ll try more. What does that actually mean. This is what I need to clarify between us to see if we are still at opposite ends on the see-saw or if we are inching closer together.
I clamber out of bed feeling stiff, and for want of a better expression, well-used. Yes, that would be all the sex then. My subconscious purses her lips in disapproval. I roll my eyes at her, grateful that a certain twitchy-palmed control freak is not in the room, and resolve to ask him about the personal trainer. That’s if I sign. My inner goddess glares at me in desperation. Of course you’ll sign. I ignore them both, and after a quick trip to the bathroom, I go in search of Christian.
He’s not in the art gallery, but an elegant middle-aged woman is cleaning in the kitchen area. The sight of her stops me in my tracks. She has short blonde hair and clear blue eyes; she wears a plain white tailored shirt and a navy blue pencil skirt. She smiles broadly when she sees me.
“Good morning, Miss Steele. Would you like some breakfast?” Her tone is warm but business like, and I am stunned. Who is this attractive blonde in Christian’s kitchen?
I’m only wearing Christian’s t-shirt. I feel self-conscious and embarrassed by my lack of clothing.
“I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.” My voice is quiet, unable to hide the anxiety in my voice.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry – I’m Mrs. Jones, Mr. Grey’s housekeeper.”
“How do you do?” I manage.
“Would you like some breakfast, ma’am?”
“Just some tea would be lovely, thank you. Do you know where Mr. Grey is?”
“In his study.”
I scuttle off toward the study, mortified. Why does Christian only have attractive blondes working for himAnd a nasty thought comes involuntarily into my mind – Are they all ex-subs I refuse to entertain that hideous idea. I poke my head shyly round the door. He’s on the phone, facing the window, in black pants and a white shirt. His hair is still wet from the shower, and I’m completely distracted from my negative thoughts.
“Unless that company’s P&L improves, I’m not interested, Ros. We’re not carrying dead weight… I don’t need any more lame excuses… Have Marco call me, it’s shit or bust time… Yes, tell Barney that the prototype looks good, though I’m not sure about the inter-face… No, it’s just missing something… I want to meet him this afternoon to discuss…
In fact, him and his team, we can brainstorm…. Okay. Transfer me back to Andrea… ” He waits, staring out of the window, master of his universe, staring down at the little people below from this castle in the sky. “Andrea… ”
Glancing up, he notices me at the door. A slow, sexy smile spreads across his beautiful face, and I’m rendered speechless as my insides melt. He is without a doubt the most beautiful man on the planet, too beautiful for the little people below, too beautiful for me.
No my inner goddess scowls at me, not too beautiful for me. He is sort of mine, for now.
The idea sends a thrill through my blood and dispels my irrational self-doubt.
He continues his conversation, his eyes never leaving mine.
“Clear my schedule this morning, but get Bill to call me. I’ll be in at two. I need to talk to Marco this afternoon, that will need at least half an hour… Schedule Barney and his team in after Marco or maybe tomorrow, and find time for me to see Claude everyday this week… Tell him to wait… Oh… No, I don’t want publicity for Darfur… Tell Sam to deal with it… No…. Which event?… That’s next Saturday?… Hold on.”
“When will you be back from Georgia?” he asks.
He resumes his phone conversation.
“I’ll need an extra ticket because I have a date… Yes Andrea, that’s what I said, a date, Miss Anastasia Steele will accompany me… That’s all.” He hangs up. “Good morning, Miss Steele.”
“Mr. Grey,” I smile shyly.
He walks around his desk with his usual grace and stands in front of me. He smells so good; clean and freshly laundered, so Christian. He gently strokes my cheek with the back of his fingers.
“I didn’t want to wake you, you looked so peaceful. Did you sleep well?”
“I am very well-rested, thank you. I just came to say hi before I had a shower.”
I gaze up at him, drinking him in. He leans down and gently kisses me, and I can’t help myself. I throw my arms around his neck and my fingers twist in his still damp hair.