Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(6)


by E.L. James

Oh? "We're not going to yours?"

"No."

I sit up and gaze at him. "Why not?"

"Because you have work tomorrow."

"Oh." I pout.

He smirks at me. "Why, did you have something in mind?"

I flush. "Well, maybe."

He chuckles. "Anastasia, I am not going to touch you again, not until you beg me to."

"What!"

"So that you'll start communicating with me. Next time we make love, you're going to have to tell me exactly what you want in fine detail."

"Oh." He shifts me off his lap as Taylor pulls up outside my apartment. Christian climbs out and holds the car door open for me.

"I have something for you." He moves to the back of the car, opens the trunk, and pulls out a large gift-wrapped box. What the hell is this?

"Open it when you get inside."

"You're not coming in?"

"No, Anastasia."

"So when will I see you?"

"Tomorrow."

"My boss wants me to go for a drink with him tomorrow."

Christian's face hardens. "Does he, now?" His voice is laced with latent menace.

"To celebrate my first week," I add quickly.

"Where?"

"I don't know."

"I could pick you up from there."

"Okay... I'll e-mail or text you."

"Good."

He walks me to the lobby door and waits while I dig my keys out of my purse. As I unlock the door, he leans forward and cups my chin, tilting my head back. His mouth hov-

ers over mine, and closing his eyes, he runs a trail of kisses from the corner of my eye to the corner of my mouth.

A small moan escapes my mouth as my insides melt and unfurl.

"Until tomorrow," he breathes.

"Goodnight, Christian," I whisper, and I hear the need in my voice.

He smiles.

"In you go," he orders, and I walk through the lobby carrying my mysterious parcel.

"Laters, baby," he calls, then turns and with his easy grace, heads back to the car.

Once in the apartment, I open the gift box and find my MacBook Pro laptop, the Blackberry, and another rectangular box. What is this? I unwrap the silver paper. Inside is a black, slim, leather case.

Opening the case, I find an iPad. Holy shit... an iPad. A white card is resting on the screen with a message written in Christian's handwriting: Holy cow. I have a Christian Grey mix-tape in the guise of a high-end iPad. I shake my head in disapproval because of the expense, but deep down I love it. Jack at the office has one, so I know how they work.

I switch it on and gasp as the wallpaper image appears: a small model glider. Oh my.

It's the Blanik L23 I gave him, mounted on a glass stand and sitting on what I think is Christian's desk at his office. I gape at it.

He built it! He really did build it. I remember now he mentioned it in the note with the flowers. I'm reeling, and I know in that instant that he's put a great deal of thought into this gift.

I slide the arrow at the bottom of the screen to unlock it and gasp again. The background photograph is of Christian and me at my graduation in the marquee. It's the one that appeared in the Seattle Times. Christian looks so handsome and I can't help my face-splitting grin, as my inner goddess curls up hugging herself on her chaise longue -  Yes, and he's mine!

With a swipe of my finger, the icons shift, and several new ones appear on the next screen. A Kindle app, iBooks, Words - whatever that is.

Holy shit! The British Library? I touch the icon and a menu appears: Historical collection. Scrolling down, I select novels of tHe 18tH and 19tH century. Another menu. I tap on a title: The AmericAn by Henry James. A new window opens, offering me a scanned copy of the book to read. Holy crap - it's an early edition, published in 1879, and it's on my iPad! He's bought me the British Library at a touch of a button.

I exit quickly, knowing that I could be lost in this app for an eternity. I notice a "good food" app that makes me roll my eyes and smile at the same time, a news app, a weather app, but his note mentioned music. I go back to the main screen, hit the iPod icon and a

playlist appears. I scroll through the songs, and the list makes me smile. Thomas Tallis -

I'm not going to forget that in a hurry. I heard it twice, after all, while he flogged and f**ked me. "Witchcraft." My grin gets wider - dancing round the great room. The Bach Marcello piece -  oh no, that's way too sad for my mood right now. Hmm. Jeff Buckley -  yeah, I've heard of him. Snow Patrol - my favorite band - and a song called "Principles of Lust" by Enigma. How Christian. I smirk. Another called "Possession"... oh yes, very Fifty Shades.

And a few more I have never heard.

Selecting a song that catches my eye, I press play. It's called "Try" by Nellie Furtado.

She starts to sing, and her voice is a silken scarf wrapping around me, enveloping me. I lie down on my bed.

Does this mean Christian's going to try? Try this new relationship? I drink in the lyrics, staring at the ceiling, trying to understand his turnaround. He missed me. I missed him. He must have some feelings for me. He must. This iPad, these songs, these apps - he cares. He really cares. My heart swells with hope.

The song ends and tears spring to my eyes. I quickly scroll to another - "The Scientist"

by Coldplay - one of Kate's favorite bands. I know the track, but I've never really listened to the lyrics before. I close my eyes and let the words wash over and through me.

My tears start to flow. I can't stem them. If this isn't an apology, what is it? Oh, Christian. Or is this an invitation? Will he answer my questions? Am I reading too much into this?

I am probably reading too much into this. My subconscious nods at me, trying to hide her pity.I dash my tears away. I have to e-mail him to thank him. I leap off my bed to fetch the mean machine.

Coldplay continues as I sit cross-legged on my bed. The Mac powers up and I log in.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: IPAD

Date: June 9, 2011 23:56

To: Christian Grey

You've made me cry again.

I love the iPad.

I love the songs.

I love the British Library App.

I love you.

Thank you.

Goodnight.

Ana xx

From: Christian Grey

Subject: iPad

Date: June 10, 2011 00:03

To: Anastasia Steele

I'm glad you like it. I bought one for myself.

Now, if I were there, I would kiss away your tears.

But I'm not - so go to sleep.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

His response makes me smile, still so bossy, still so Christian. Will that change, too? And I realize in that moment that I hope not. I like him like this - commanding - as long as I can stand up to him without fear of punishment.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Mr. Grumpy

Date: June 10, 2011 00:07

To: Christian Grey

You sound your usual bossy and possibly tense, possibly grumpy self, Mr. Grey.

I know something that could ease that. But then, you're not here - you wouldn't let me stay, and you expect me to beg...

Dream on, Sir.

Ana xx

PS: I also note that you included the Stalker's Anthem, "Every Breath You Take." I do enjoy your sense of humor, but does Dr. Flynn know?

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Zen-Like Calm

Date: June 10, 2011 00.10

To: Anastasia Steele

My Dearest Miss Steele

Spanking occurs in vanilla relationships, too, you know. Usually consensually and in a sexual context... but I am more than happy to make an exception.

You'll be relieved to know that Dr. Flynn also enjoys my sense of humor.

Now, please go to sleep as you won't get much tomorrow.

Incidentally - you will beg, trust me. And I look forward to it.

Christian Grey

Tense CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Goodnight, Sweet Dreams

Date: June 10, 2011 00:12

To: Christian Grey

Well, since you ask so nicely, and I like your delicious threat, I shall curl up with the iPad that you have so kindly given me and fall asleep browsing in the British Library, listening to the music that says it for you.

A xxx

From: Christian Grey

Subject: One more request

Date: June 10, 2011 00:15

To: Anastasia Steele

Dream of me.

x

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

Dream of you, Christian Grey? Always.

I change quickly into my pajamas, brush my teeth, and slip into bed. Putting my ear buds in, I pull the flattened Charlie Tango balloon from underneath my pillow and hug it to me.

I am brimming with joy, a stupid, widemouthed grin on my face. What a difference a day can make. How am I ever going to sleep?

Jose Gonzalez starts to sing a soothing melody with a hypnotic guitar riff, and I drift slowly into sleep, marveling how the world has righted itself in one evening and wondering idly if I should make a playlist for Christian.

Chapter Three

The one good thing about being car-less is that on the bus on my way to work, I can plug my headphones into my iPad while it's safely in my purse and listen to all the wonderful tunes Christian has given me. By the time I arrive at the office, I have the most ludicrous grin on my face.

Jack glances up at me and does a double take.

"Good morning, Ana. You look... radiant." His remark flusters me. How inappropriate! "I slept well, thank you, Jack. Good morning."

His brow crinkles.

"Can you read these for me and have reports on them by lunchtime, please?" He hands me four manuscripts. At my horrified expression, he adds, "Just first chapters."

"Sure," I smile with relief, and he gives me a broad smile in return.

I switch on the computer to start work, finishing my latte and eating a banana. There's an e-mail from Christian.

From: Christian Grey

Subject: So Help Me...

Date: June 10, 2011 08:05

To: Anastasia Steele

I do hope you've had breakfast.

I missed you last night.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Old books...

Date: June 10, 2011 08:33

To: Christian Grey

I am eating a banana as I type. I have not had breakfast for several days, so it is a step forward. I love the British Library App - I started rereading Robinson Crusoe... and of course, I love you.

Now leave me alone - I am trying to work.

Anastasia Steele

Assistant to Jack Hyde, Commissioning Editor, SIP

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Is that all you've eaten?

Date: June 10, 2011 08:36

To: Anastasia Steele

You can do better than that. You're going to need your energy for begging.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Pest

Date: June 10, 2011 08:39

To: Christian Grey

Mr. Grey - I am trying to work for a living - and it's you that will be begging.

Anastasia Steele

Assistant to Jack Hyde, Commissioning Editor, SIP

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Bring it On!

Date: June 10, 2011 08:36

To: Anastasia Steele

Why Miss Steele, I love a challenge...

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

I sit grinning at the screen like an idiot. But I need to read these chapters for Jack and write reports on all of them. Placing the manuscripts on my desk, I begin.

At lunchtime I head to the deli for a pastrami sandwich and listen to the playlist on my iPad. First up there's Nitin Sawhney, some world music called "Homelands" - it's good.

Mr. Grey has an eclectic taste in music. I wander back, listening to a classical piece, Fanta-sia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Vaughn Williams. Oh, Fifty has a sense of humor, and I love him for it. Will this stupid grin ever leave my face?