Yesterday was exhausting. Apart from travelling the best part of a day, the high emotions of last night, thinking Elliot had lost his brother and Ana had lost her… well, whatever Christian is to her. Feeling so helpless, watching Ana and Elliot go through so much pain.
It’s strange to be alone in this apartment. I haven’t had a chance to feel at home here yet and without Ana, too… Elliot has gone to his own place for a few hours and I miss him already.
I miss Ana. I just assumed she’d be here when I got back, same as she always was. I miss having her to talk to and to share everything with. I was looking forward to telling her about Barbados; I long to share my feelings about Elliot with her; and about the way Ethan kept asking me about her. But I think that ship has sailed; she seems totally smitten with Mr Moneybags. It makes me nervous; she’s so naïve about men and Christian has totally swept her off her feet.
I don’t know what it is about him, but he creeps me out. He obviously doesn’t like me, not that I give a damn about that, but it doesn’t exactly endear him to me either. Maybe it’s the way he acts like I’m in some sort of competition with him for Ana’s time, like he wants every bit of her. A girl like Ana could easily be swallowed up by a control freak like Christian Grey.
And he’s so secretive and closed in. It’s hard to believe that he and Elliot were brought up by the same parents. Elliot is kind and open and loving. He hasn’t got a controlling bone in his body, ok, well, maybe a little bit; he’s a man after all! He says Christian is a great guy; well, frankly, what brother wouldn’t? He obviously loves him, which makes me love Elliot more, if that were even possible!
The curious thing is he said it’s unusual for Christian to date. What does that mean? Christian is 27, well, 28 today, and, from what Mia says, he’s never brought a girlfriend home before. Never! And when I did that research for the WSUV article, there wasn’t a single picture of him anywhere with a woman. It’s just… odd, like he’s hiding something. I wouldn’t care one way or another, if it weren’t for Ana.
I miss my friend. Everything is different: me, Elliot, Ana, being in Seattle. It feels like a fundamental change, the tectonic plates of our lives shifting beneath us. I feel out of control and it’s not a feeling I’m used to.
I drift through the apartment looking at the too bare walls, boxes still unpacked. It’s not home; I don’t know what it is.
There’s some comfort in being in Ana’s room. Her bed, with the familiar, blue, folksy quilt her mom made, her hair brush on the table, a half-drunk glass of water, her clothes in the closet, a pair of jeans slung across the chair. I sit on the bed and gaze out of the window. The curtains are cream: I hadn’t noticed. I lie back on the bed and see that there’s a black jacket hanging on the door. It’s too big to be Ana’s; one of Christian’s obviously. I’m glad that he’s been here – or maybe he just leant it to her. She’s always going off without a sweater or a jacket! Maybe she just got cold; now I think about it, I can’t see Mr Control Freak spending time here when he’s got his vast art gallery at Escala.
Oh, Ana! I hope you know what you’re doing, but how can you? You’ve hardly even kissed a boy, let alone made love before. And now… now you’re living with Christian Grey. I can see how much you love him, but I can also see how much he overwhelms you, suffocates you.
At least I’ll be able to talk to you later at the birthday party, or glad-you’re-alive party, whatever it is.
I can’t help looking at the jacket in more detail. It’s a fine, light knit wool blazer, black, double vented. Good quality. Oh? Made in London; Savile Row, no less.
As the jacket swings on the peg, I notice that there’s a sheaf of papers stuck in one pocket. I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help myself: it must be the journalist in me. Maybe it’s some deal Mr Mogul is working on; it would be interesting to know how he does business.
I scan through a few lines: a contract between Christian and Ana? Then I read a few more. The blood drains from my face and I don’t remember sitting down, but I’m collapsed on the bed. What? No!
I can’t believe what I’m reading… Obedience? Hard limits? Flog, spank, whip, corporally punish the submissive for his own personal enjoyment? What the hell is this shit?
I read on with growing fear and disgust. She can’t look at him; she has to call him ‘Sir’ or ‘Mr Grey’; gagging, bondage, suspension, anal fisting… Oh, Ana, what has he done to you!
It’s too much. I drop the vile papers and run to the bathroom, retching into the toilet bowl. I can’t believe it! Beautiful, sweet, gentle Ana with this… with this monster!
And suddenly it all makes sense… Ana’s tears, the mood swings, the uncertainty she always feels around Grey. That bastard wants to turn my best friend into his submissive.
NO. FUCKING. WAY.
I will crucify him! I will have his balls for earrings! I will make him wish he’d never fucked with Kate Kavanagh’s BFF.
I’ve never felt such raw anger as it floods through me. My chest is pounding, I can hardly breathe. Elliot must know; Elliot must know. He said Christian doesn’t date – obviously this is the reason why! But no, I can’t believe he wouldn’t have said something to me. I mean, he’s met Ana – he likes Ana. He can see for himself how innocent she is.
And for the first time in a long time I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to tell, how to act, or how I can protect Ana. She’s obviously in his thrall.
My mind is reeling. Images from last night flash through my exhausted brain: the way she looked at him when he returned from the ashes; the way he looked at her. That was love, wasn’t it? It seemed that way; Elliot certainly thinks so, and Grace and Carrick, Mia.
I don’t understand, I just don’t!
I’ll have to speak to them: tonight, before the party. I have to know what’s going on. I have to know that Ana is… that Ana is ok.
Please god let her be ok.
If that vile fucking creature has harmed one hair of her head, I’ll tell the whole fucking world what a fucking monster he is, and all the fucking law suits he can throw at me won’t fucking stop me. No fucking way!
I feel numb. I turn the shower up to its hottest setting, the scalding water pouring over me; but still I feel nothing. I go through the rituals of washing like an automaton, but there’s a dangerous anger building inside me. It pierces the numbness: I want to do something violent to that monster; I want to hurt him – I want to pay him back for what he’s done to Ana. He WILL pay. I don’t know how, but he will.
The red dress that I put out to wear tonight seems appropriate for the scale and color of my anger. I apply my make-up like war paint; every angry slash of powder, a call to arms. That fucking twisted bastard!
When Elliot arrives to drive me out to Bellevue he can’t fail to notice that there’s something wrong.
“What’s the matter, Kate?”
I shake my head. I can’t speak about this, not until I’ve seen Ana. Ana is the one who is important here: nothing else matters.
“Katy, baby, please tell me what’s wrong? You look mad about something.”
“Elliot, just leave it, please. I need to talk to Ana, it’s… private. Girl stuff. Just leave it, ok?”
He presses his lips together but wisely says no more. I feel wretched not being able to talk to Elliot about this. Over the last two wonderful weeks we’ve talked about everything; he’s become my whole world. But this is about his bastard of a brother, and I can’t tell him how sick and twisted Christian really is.
My stomach lurches again. What if Elliot sides with Christian against me? I’ll lose him, I know it. And I can’t lose Elliot; I love him. Just saying his name is like learning to breathe again. This will rip his whole family apart. Oh, Ana, Ana, Ana!
The drive to Bellevue is intolerable. Elliot plays some music to appease the stony silence but I see him casting anxious glances at me as I stare out of the window into the blackness.
They Greys are all in party mood, full of high spirits and joy. I watch them as if I’m from another dimension; the ghost at the party. How apt.
There are Elliot’s grandparents, full of praise for their youngest grandson: how brave, how marvellous, how in love with Ana, how wonderful. And Grace’s eyes, glowing with happiness and some other emotion I don’t recognise. Carrick, full of life and bonhomie. Mia, at full volume, bristling with energy, waiting to see her brother. The strange, icy Lincoln woman, who seems almost as anxious as I am. Christian’s few friends and business colleagues. It’s all too much. I head away from the living area to find refuge in the dining room.
Elliot follows me, his eyes worried. At the same time we hear the crunch of car tyres on the gravel. Elliot throws me a puzzled look as I charge out to meet them: Ana – and the monster, Christian Grey.