How did Elena persuade Christian to visit Anastasia in Savannah? What was her motivation? How ‘happy’ did she want Christian to be? Read on…
Anastasia’s emails have put me in a good frame of mind. She’s been eating, she’s called me ‘sir’ – damn, she’s challenging and witty and clever. I’ve been terminally bored for so long, and I feel alive just being around her.
I can’t wait for the weekend. Thinking about having her in my playroom again is giving me a serious hard on. It’s not conducive to keeping my mind on the road while I’m driving. I’m glad Elena suggested having dinner tonight; I need some distraction from Miss Steele. The next few days of waiting – yet again – are going to drive me insane.
Elena has chosen a small French restaurant in an unfashionable part of Seattle. She knows it’s important that I keep a low profile.
I’m looking forward to seeing her: other than Flynn, she’s the one person I can talk to; someone who knows all my shit and doesn’t care. I can relax with her in a way I can’t with anyone else – not even Anastasia.
Anastasia: I love to roll that name around on my tongue – a beautiful name for a beautiful girl. Fuck, I love to roll my tongue around her. Mind on the road, Grey!
Elena knows where to touch me. Although there was a time she forced me beyond my careful boundaries and touched me everywhere, those days are gone. She knows the no-man’s land that marks the extent of my fifty shades of fucked up. And she never, never trespasses on me, or on our friendship. I trust her. And I don’t trust many people: Flynn, my family, Ros, Elena, even Taylor and Gail, in another way. And I’m starting to trust Anastasia; not that I’ll ever be able to tell her everything. And why would I? A sweet, innocent girl like that. If she really knew how depraved and twisted I was, she wouldn’t come near me. And I wouldn’t blame her. So it’ll be better when I’ve got her signed up to being my sub. Hell, that day can’t come soon enough.
I’m nervous that she’s flown so far to get away from me. She says it’s to visit her mother and I know she hasn’t seen her for a while, but it was so sudden. Fucking Kate Kavanagh: that’s where this has come from. Christ, what does Elliot see in that interfering harridan? She’s seriously getting on my nerves. I’ll have to find a way to keep Anastasia away from her. No, I don’t want to think about that now, it’ll just piss me off.
Fuck! I can’t keep my mind off Ana for one fucking minute! How pathetic is that? It’s a good thing I’m seeing Elena; it’ll help me to clear my head a bit. Maybe I could talk everything through with her. Yeah, she’s always said I can talk to her about anything. I rarely want to, of course, but it’ll be good to have a different viewpoint, other than Flynn’s, that is.
He’s been pushing me hard with his SFBT bullshit: ‘where do I see things going with Ana’, and all that. In my fucking playroom, that’s where.
I can count on Elena to tell me what I need to hear.
She’s already sitting down when I arrive. That’s not the table I would have chosen, but I let it go.
“Good evening, Elena.”
“Christian! How nice to see you. You look… well.”
I kiss her on the cheek and she smiles, resting her hands on my upper arms.
“You look different, Christian. Why’s that, I wonder?”
Am I different? I’m excited about the possibilities with Ana, but different?
I frown. “I don’t think so, Elena.”
She smiles but knows not to argue. She fills my glass from a bottle of Sancerre that’s chilling on the table.
“So, what’s been going on with you? Mergers and acquisitions, usual Master of the Universe business?”
“Something like that. The salons seem to be doing well, despite the recession.”
“Well, we ladies need a little treat now and then.”
Whatever. “How’s the refurb going?”
“Very well. We’re reopening tomorrow as it happens. You should stop by.”
“I’m sure I can imagine it without needing to visit the salon, Elena.” For fucks sake! This is her project; I just bank-roll her. I have no interest in the beauty business. I wouldn’t even care if it lost money but Elena is too sharp to let that happen. But what does she expect? That I’ll be there with a fucking ribbon and pair of scissors?!
“So… tell me what else is going on with you.”
“What makes you think anything is going on?”
“Oh, Christian! I know you better than you know yourself! I can see it in your face. You don’t have to tell me… A new sub, perhaps?”
“Well, not yet.”
“You’ve interviewed a new sub?”
This is harder than I thought. How do I explain Anastasia?
“I met a girl that I hope will be a sub. I haven’t finalised the paperwork yet.”
Elena looks at me with surprise and displeasure.
“That doesn’t sound like you, Christian? Aren’t you taking a risk?”
“I’m not a fucking idiot, Elena!”
“No, of course not, but no paperwork? I don’t understand.”
I run my hand through my hair in exasperation.
“She’s signed an NDA, but we’re still discussing the sub contract.”
Elena pauses with her glass of wine half way to her lips.
“You’re discussing the contract? You mean the hard limits?”
“That – and other things. She’s …new …to this.”
She gapes at me – it’s not a good look.
“Christian Grey! Are you telling me that this is a regular girl you’re talking about?”
There’s nothing ‘regular’ about Anastasia – she’s special.
“She’s not a practising sub if that’s what you mean.”
She leans back in her chair, an amused expression on her face.
“That’s an interesting development. Tell me more. Where did you meet her?”
“She’s a student… was a student. She just graduated from WSUV; she interviewed me for the student paper.”
“Good heavens. That would make her, what, 22?”
“Nearly. She’ll be 22 in September.”
“Christian – I’m almost speechless. What did she make of your playroom?”
“That really is none of your fucking business, Elena.”
She looks taken aback. Who the fuck does she think she’s talking to?
“I apologise: it was the… surprise. Of course it’s none of my business but I can’t help being intrigued. Are you sure she’s not, you know, a gold digger?”
I narrow my eyes at her: careful, Elena. “She’s not like that.”
“Oh, Christian! Really!”
“Don’t be naïve.”
I’m starting to get pissed: really pissed. “I’m pretty good at reading women, Elena,” I say coldly, “and I’m telling you Anastasia isn’t like that.”
She holds her hands up in a gesture of peace.
“That’s a pretty name.”
“A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”
She hesitates. “Oh, Christian! It’s so good to see you like this.”
I’m puzzled. “Like what?”
She smiles. “You really don’t know, do you?”
I scowl at her: she’s laughing at me. I don’t fucking like it.
Then the clueless fucking waiter chooses that moment to interrupt us.
“May I tell you about the specials today?”
“Please,” says Elena, politely.
“We have Normandy trout with apple cider, crème fraiche and crevettes cognac avec beurre blanc, Halibut avec sauce au beurre de capres,” he says, looking at me nervously. “Or the bouillon d’awara with palm fruit.”
“I’ll have the trout,” says Elena.
“Two,” I snarl, and he hurries to scribble on his notepad and hightail it back to the kitchen. Fucking amateur – doesn’t know when to approach a table.
“Don’t take your pique out on the staff,” says Elena, raising her eyebrows. “I was looking forward to a nice relaxing dinner with you.”
I take a deep breath and attempt to control my rising temper. She leans forward and lays her hand on mine. Her skin is cool and dry. I remember that touch…
“Christian, I’m delighted for you. It’s just… not what I expected. You… dating!”
Is that what she thinks! I almost laugh out loud.
“Hardly, Elena! I’m trying to persuade her to sub for me. She doesn’t know the scene: I can’t just dive in.”
“Why not? You did.”
“That… that was different.”
She pauses. “How is the …persuasion going?”
I sigh. “She’s visiting her mother in Savannah at the moment. I’ll see her on Friday.”
“Well, I’m glad about that. I hate to think of you being in this bad temper for longer than a couple of days!”
What?! “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“For goodness sake! You’re like a cat on hot bricks! I dread to think what you’ve put your staff through this week! Taylor must be ready to shoot himself – or you.”
“Not fucking funny, Elena.”
“Christian, for an intelligent man you can be surprisingly obtuse.”
My glass hits that table harder than I meant, wine slopping over the top and onto the linen tablecloth.
Her eyes soften as she stares at me. “It’s quite obvious, to me at least, Christian, that this girl – this Anastasia – means a lot to you. You’re in love with her!”
And for a moment my dead heart lurches. In love? No. Surely not. No. No, that’s wrong. Elena is wrong. She must be!
She takes her hand in mine and speaks softly, as if to a child. I feel like I’m watching her from a long way away.
“Dear Christian: don’t you realise what a catch you are? I’m not surprised a sweet, innocent young college girl has captured your heart. The question is, what are you going to do about it? You have needs, Christian, we both know that. If this girl can do that for you, well, my goodness, what a lucky girl she’d be.”
And that is the crux of the matter: can… will Anastasia sub for me? I hope so. I really hope so. I need her to say yes. Waiting around for her to make up her mind is fucking killing me. I can’t bear to think about her saying no. No, I won’t let her say no. No fucking way!
“Of course,” Elena continues, “she’d have to know a bit more about the scene, but I’m sure you’ll be able to explain things to her, teach her – a man of your talents. I remember how much you enjoyed caning and suspension in particular.”
I don’t like her mentioning these things in public; you never know when someone is listening. And yet a part of my brain immediately starts imaging using these with Ana, and another part of my body immediately responds.
Elena leans back in her chair, a cool light in her eyes.
“You have to be who you are, Christian. We both know what happens to you when you repress your needs – I’d hate to see that happen to you… again. If this girl can be all these things, then that’s marvellous. I hope you’ll be very happy together.”
“I’m not fucking marrying her, Elena!”
She laughs quietly.
“Well, goodness! You had me worried for a moment – all that talk of how young and beautiful she is.”
The waiter tiptoes towards us with the entrées and timidly slides the plates in front of us.
“Where are the fish knives?” I bark at him. He nearly jumps. That’s more like it.
“Sorry, sir, madam… I’ll…” and he hurries away returning quickly with the appropriate silverware.
Elena is watching me with amusement.
“Would you like my advice, Christian?”
She doesn’t wait for an answer.
“I think you should go to Savannah. Don’t wait until Friday. After all, what young girl isn’t going to be swept away when her amore flies across the continent on his private jet just to lay his world at her feet?”
“For fucks sake, Elena! What fanciful trash have you been reading?”
“I’m simply saying, Christian, that you are master of your destiny: why wait until Friday. Let her know how you feel now. It’s bound to have a positive effect on her. Then when you get back to Seattle, she’ll be in the frame of mind to really… play.”
I think about what she’s said, even though she’s making me fucking pissed. Yes, it would be really good not to have to wait to see Anastasia. To be able to see her, maybe tomorrow, and enjoying fucking her sweet, soft body somewhere hot and steamy, as Georgia will surely be at this time of year. I can imagine the way her clothes would stick to her and the way her delicious skin would taste of salt as I worked her up into a frenzy. Yes, I like that idea a lot.
So why shouldn’t I? I can work anywhere: I haven’t got any urgent meetings that can’t be delayed. And yes, I can get her to sign up then and there and fly her back to Seattle on the jet. And, of course, explore the pleasures of taking her in the private on-board bedroom. That would be another first.
Elena is watching me. “Wouldn’t it be better not to have to hide who you are, Christian?” she says softly. “After all, she’ll have to know sooner or later. You can’t deny yourself forever.”
Jeez. I wish she’d stop talking. I’m aching to see Ana, to hold her in my arms, to peel her out of her clothes, to… Stop the mind-fuck, Grey! Get a fucking grip!
“When you get back,” Elena continues, “tell her to come by the salon. You know I’d be only too delighted to have one of the girls attend to her as per your preferences.”
I frown. I really don’t think the dinner table is the place to discuss depilation.
“Besides, I’d be delighted to see her. From a distance, of course: your special girl.”
I don’t know if Elena is trying to needle me but it’s fucking irritating. At least the fish is good.
“I’ll think about it.”
Elena smiles. “Of course. Do as you like, Christian, darling, you always do. And you always get your own way. You’re really quite brutal: I do like that in a man, as you know. And I’m sure dear Anastasia will come to know and love the Dominant in you. I bet part of her can’t wait.”
“That’s enough, Elena.” I’m really not prepared to discuss this any further. The damn woman acts like she owns me sometimes; but I can’t deny she knows me.
I note that the waiter is watching. I nod, so he knows he’s to remove our plates.
“Would you like to see the dessert menu, madam, sir?”
“Yes, I think I’d like something sweet,” Elena says, purring out the last word.
Christ, that’s annoying.
“Just bring me the cheeseboard.”
“Of course, sir.”
“Christian, really! You are in a bad mood.”
“I wasn’t until I got here, Elena.”
I feel a shiver of pleasure as her face falls. I’m not your bitch – not any more.
“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, Christian,” she says, her eyes downcast. “You know I’d never deliberately do that. I’ve just missed our little chats. It’s good to talk to someone who really knows me. I thought you felt the same.”
I sigh. “I do Elena. Just don’t push me. I’m not in the mood. By the way, how’s Isaac?”
She smiles. “Adequate. But I’m working on that.”
“Something evil, no doubt, planned for his training.”
“Why, Christian, what do you mean?”
I can’t help laughing out loud. She looks surprised, then smiles.
“I almost feel sorry for him.”
“Almost,” I agree, smirking at her.
We eat our desserts in peace and she tells me her plans for extending the Esclava chain and about the new salon she’s opened in the Bravern Centre in Bellevue. I already know that Mia has dropped in for a pedicure. It’s not really mom’s thing, but she’ll book something just to show support. Probably half the clientele will be made up of mom’s infinite circle of friends. Elena is business smart. It’s one of the things I admire about her.
By the end of the meal I’ve decided to fly out to Savannah and surprise Ana. I really can’t wait for Friday. Why should I when there’s no need? What’s the point of being the CEO if I can’t take off for a few days? Ros can handle things here.
As I walk Elena to her car, the thought that I’ll see Anastasia in less than 24 hours makes me smile.
“What?” says Elena, smiling back.
“It’s been good catching up, Elena.”
“Yes, it has. Will you think about what I said?”
“Fine! Fine! Stop nagging, Elena; I’ve already got one mother, you know.”
An expression I don’t recognise flickers across her face. Whatever.
“You can call me any time, Christian. Don’t forget.”
I open the driver’s door and she reaches up to kiss me on both cheeks.
“Don’t be a stranger, Christian.”
“Bye, Elena. Don’t take it too easy on Isaac.”
“Oh, Christian! I’ll never do that.”
She drives away into the night and I smile to myself as I pull out my Blackberry. Taylor will need to get the jet prepped for take-off in two hours.
* * * *
As I drive away I smile to myself. Christian is so easy to manipulate, even now. He doesn’t even know I’m doing it. He really doesn’t learn. Once that gold-digging little bitch, that Anastasia gets a glimpse of the real Christian Grey, she’ll run away screaming at the top of her sweet little lungs. A man like that needs a real woman, not a fresh-faced little milksop.
I know what he needs! I’ve always known. One day he’ll realise that I’m the only woman who’s ever satisfied his needs. There’s a reason why the long line of subs have left or been kicked out; he must realise they can’t satisfy him like I can. It’s only just a matter of time.
And I’m certainly not going to let that little bitch get her claws into him. In love! It’s disgusting. I can hardly believe that Christian is behaving like a hormonal teenager. It’s pathetic and the sooner he sees that, the better. I’ve done him a big favor sending him off to Savannah, ready to exert his will over Anastasia. God! Even the way he says her name makes me sick!
It’s a good thing I’ve arranged to see Isaac later, because dinner has left me with a bellyache. I always arrange to see Isaac after a meeting with Christian: I have needs, too. And if I can’t have the man I created, I’ll just have to make do until I can.