Christian stands in a steel-barred cage. Wearing his soft, ripped jeans, his chest and feet are mouth wateringly naked, and he’s staring at me. His private-joke smile etched on his beautiful face and his eyes a molten gray. In his hands he holds a bowl of strawberries.
He ambles with athletic grace to the front of the cage, gazing intently at me. Holding up a plump ripe strawberry, he extends his hand through the bars.
“Eat,” he says, his tongue caressing the front of his palate as he enunciates the ‘t’.
I try and move toward him, but I’m tethered, held back by some unseen force around my wrist, holding me . Let me go.
“Come, eat,” he says, smiling his delicious crooked smile.
I pull and pull… let me go! I want to scream and shout, but no sound emerges. I am mute. He stretches a little further, and the strawberry is at my lips.
“Eat, Anastasia.” His mouth forms my name, lingering sensually on each syllable.
I open my mouth and bite, the cage disappears, and my hands are free. I reach up to touch him, graze my fingers through his chest hair.
No. I moan.
“Come on, baby.”
No. I want to touch you.
No. Please. My eyes flicker unwillingly open for a split second. I’m in bed and someone is nuzzling my ear.
“Wake up, baby,” he whispers, and the effect of his sweet voice spreads like warm melted caramel through my veins.
It’s Christian. Jeez, it’s still dark, and the images of him from my dream persists, disconcerting and tantalizing in my head.
“Oh… no,” I groan. I want back at his chest, back to my dream. Why is he waking me?
It’s the middle of the night, or so it feels . Holy shit. Does he want sex – now?
“Time to get up, baby. I’m going to switch on the sidelight.” His voice is quiet.
“No,” I groan.
“I want to chase the dawn with you,” he says, kissing my face, my eyelids, the tip of my nose, my mouth, and I open my eyes. The sidelight is on. “Good morning, beautiful,”
I groan, and he smiles.
“You are not a morning person,” he murmurs.
Through the haze of light, I squint and see Christian leaning over me, smiling. Amused.
Amused at me. Dressed! In black.
“I thought you wanted sex,” I grumble.
“Anastasia, I always want sex with you. It’s heartwarming to know that you feel the same,” he says dryly.
I gaze at him as my eyes adjust to the light, but he still looks amused… thank heavens.
“Of course I do, just not when it’s so late.”
“It’s not late, it’s early. Come on – up you go. We’re going out. I’ll take a rain check on the sex.”
“I was having such a nice dream,” I whine.
“Dream about what?” he asks patiently.
“You.” I blush.
“What was I doing this time?”
“Trying to feed me strawberries.”
His lips twitch with a trace of a smile.
“Dr. Flynn could have a field day with that. Up – get dressed. Don’t bother to shower, we can do that later.”
I sit up, and the sheet pools at my waist, revealing my body. He stands to give me room, his eyes dark.
“What time is it?”
“5:30 in the morning.”
“Feels like 3:00 a.m.”
“We don’t have much time. I let you sleep as long as possible. Come.”
“Can’t I have a shower?”
“If you have a shower, I’ll want one with you, and you and I know what will happen then – the day will just go. Come.”
He’s excited. Like a small boy, he’s iridescent with anticipation and excitement. It makes me smile.
“What are we doing?’
“It’s a surprise. I told you.”
I can’t help but grin up at him.
“Okay.” I clamber off the bed and search for my clothes. Of course they are neatly folded on the chair beside my bed. He’s laid out a pair of his jersey boxer briefs too, Ralph Lauren, no less. I slip them on, and he grins at me. Hmm, another piece of Christian Grey’s underwear – a trophy to add to my collection – along with the car, the BlackBerry, the Mac, his black jacket, and a set of old valuable first editions. I shake my head at his lar-gesse, and I frown as a scene from Tess crosses my mind: the strawberry scene. It evokes my dream. To hell with Dr. Flynn – Freud would have a field day – and then he’d probably expire trying to deal with Fifty Shades.
“I’ll give you some room now that you’re up.” Christian exits toward the living area, and I wander into the bathroom. I have needs to attend to, and I want a quick wash. Seven minutes later, I am in the living area, scrubbed, brushed and dressed in jeans, my camisole, and Christian Grey’s underwear. Christian glances up from the small dining table where he’s eating breakfast. Breakfast! Jeez, at this time.
“Eat,” he says.
Holy Moses… my dream. I gape at him, thinking about his tongue on his palate. Hmm, his expert tongue.
“Anastasia,” he says sternly, pulling me out of my reverie.
It really is too early for me. How to handle this?
“I’ll have some tea. Can I take a croissant for later?”
He eyes me suspiciously, and I smile very sweetly.
“Don’t rain on my parade, Anastasia,” he warns softly.
“I will eat later when my stomach’s woken up. About 7:30 a.m…. okay?”
“Okay.” He peers down at me.
Honestly. I have to concentrate hard on not making a face at him.
“I want to roll my eyes at you.”
“By all means, do, and you will make my day,” he says sternly.
I gaze up at the ceiling.
“Well a spanking would wake me up, I suppose.” I purse my lips in quiet contempla-tion.