I glance nervously around the bar but cannot see him.
“Ana, what is it. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“It’s Christian, he’s here.”
“What? Really?” She glances around the bar too.
I have neglected to mention Christian’s stalker tendencies to my mom.
I see him. My heart leaps, beginning a juddering thumping beat as he makes his way toward us. He’s really here – for me. My inner goddess leaps up cheering from her chaise longue. Moving smoothly through the crowd, his hair glints burnished copper and red under the recessed halogens. His bright gray eyes are shining with – anger Tension His mouth is set in a grim line, jaw tense. Oh holy shit… no. I am so mad at him right now, and here he is. How can I be angry with him in front of my mother?
He arrives at our table, gazing at me warily. He’s dressed in customary white linen shirt and jeans.
“Hi,” I squeak, unable to hide my shock and awe at seeing him here in the flesh.
“Hi,” he replies, and leaning down, he kisses my cheek, taking me by surprise.
“Christian, this is my mother, Carla.” My ingrained manners take over.
He turns to greet my mom.
“Mrs. Adams, I am delighted to meet you.”
How does he know her name He gives her the heart-stopping, Christian Grey patented, full-blown-no-prisoners-taken smile. She doesn’t have a hope. My mother’s lower jaw practically hits the table. Jeez, get a grip Mom. She takes his proffered hand and they shake. My mother hasn’t replied. Oh, complete dumbfounded speechlessness is genetic
– I had no idea.
“Christian,” she manages finally, breathlessly.
He smiles knowingly at her, his gray eyes twinkling. I narrow my eyes at them both.
“What are you doing here?” My question sounds more brittle than I mean, and his smile disappears, his expression now guarded. I am thrilled to see him, but completely thrown off balance, my anger about Mrs. Robinson simmering through my veins. I don’t know if I want to shout at him or throw myself into his arms – but I don’t think he’d like either – and I want to know how long he has been watching us. I’m also a little anxious about the email I just sent him.
“I came to see you, of course.” He gazes down at me impassively. Oh, what is he thinking”I’m staying in this hotel.”
“You’re staying here?” I sound like a sophomore on amphetamines, too high-pitched even for my own ears.
“Well, yesterday you said you wished I was here.” He pauses trying to gauge my reaction. “We aim to please, Miss Steele.” His voice is quiet with no trace of humor.
Crap – Is he mad Maybe the Mrs. Robinson commentsOr the fact that I am on my third, soon to be fourth CosmoMy mother is glancing anxiously at the two of us.
“Won’t you join us for a drink, Christian?” She waves to the waiter who is at her side in a nanosecond.
“I’ll have a gin and tonic,” Christian says. “Hendricks if you have it or Bombay Sap-phire. Cucumber with the Hendricks, lime with the Bombay.”
Holy hell… only Christian could make a meal out of ordering a drink.
“And two more Cosmos please,” I add, looking anxiously at Christian. I am drinking with my mother – no way can he be angry about that.
“Please pull up a chair, Christian.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Adams.”
Christian pulls a nearby chair over and sits gracefully down beside me.
“So you just happen to be staying in the hotel where we’re drinking?” I ask, trying hard to keep my tone light.
“Or, you just happen to be drinking in the hotel where I’m staying,” Christian replies.
“I just finished dinner, came in here, and saw you. I was distracted thinking about your most recent email, and I glance up and there you are. Quite a coincidence, eh?” He cocks his head to one side, and I see a trace of a smile. Thank heavens – we may be able to save the evening after all.
“My mother and I were shopping this morning and on the beach this afternoon. We decided on a few cocktails this evening,” I mutter, feeling that I owe him some sort of explanation.
“Did you buy that top?” He nods at my brand new green silk camisole, “The color suits you. And you’ve caught some sun. You look lovely.”
I flush, speechless at his compliment.
“Well, I was going to pay you a visit tomorrow. But here you are.”
He reaches over, takes my hand, and squeezes it gently, running his thumb across my knuckles to and fro… and I feel the familiar pull. The electric charge zapping beneath my skin under the gentle pressure from his thumb, firing into my blood stream and pulsing around my body, heating everything in its path. It’s been over two days since I saw him.
Oh my… I want him. My breath hitches. I blink at him, smiling shyly, and see a smile play on his beautiful, sculptured lips.
“I thought I’d surprise you. But as ever, Anastasia, you surprise me by being here.”
I glance quickly at Mom who is staring at Christian… yes staring! Stop it Mom. As if he’s some exotic creature, never seen before. I mean, I know I’ve never had a boyfriend, and Christian only qualifies as such for ease of reference – but is it so unbelievable that I could attract a manThis manYes, frankly – look at him – my subconscious snaps. Oh, shut up! Who invited you to the partyI scowl at my mom – but she doesn’t seem to notice.
“I don’t want to interrupt the time you have with your mother. I’ll have a quick drink and then retire. I have work to do,” he states earnestly.
“Christian, it’s lovely to meet you finally,” Mom interjects, finally finding her voice.
“Ana has spoken very fondly of you.”