Chapter 29

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“Ana!” Kate calls, waving me over to her table. I smile and walk in her direction, clutching to the tray of food I’m desperate to inhale. My Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule sucks this semester and every time I find a break in the day, I’m starving.

As I approach the table, I can see that Ros is sitting with her. I look around, first at the table and then behind me where the food is being served, to see if I can see Christian but I don’t. Taking a seat next to Ros at the table, I find myself disappointed. I haven’t seen him since our fight last night and he hasn’t answered any of my texts this morning. When I decided not to stay with him last night, I was angry but I didn’t get much sleep being alone in my bed all night. I think I’m growing accustomed to having him next to me.

“Where’s Christian?” I ask, taking a bite of the sub sandwich on my plate.

“Hopefully taking a nap,” Ros says bitterly. “He’s been hell on wheels all day. I don’t know if he had a shitty workout this morning or if he just got up on the wrong side of the bed, but he’s got a bad attitude today.”

“He and Ana are fighting,” Kate says through a mouthful of salad. “I saw him in the gym this morning with his kickboxing trainer, it looked like he was trying to kill him.”

Ros turns and glares at me. “My life is plenty difficult with Christian as it is.”

“Hey, he started it. All I did was help Astor as an employee of the library and ask him a question he didn’t like.”

“What question?” Kate asks.

“Uh…” I stutter. Crap. Way to open your big mouth, Anastasia. “I don’t even remember it was so stupid. He’s overreacting.”

“He does that,” Ros nods in agreement. “We have work to do tonight, so if you can make up with him before then, I’d appreciate it.”

“I’ll do what I can,” I tell her and she smiles.

“Hey, Ros. Ana and I were thinking about going out tomorrow night, having a girl’s night on the town. Do you want to come?” Kate asks, and Ros looks back at her astonished before her face melts into a look of simultaneous relief and unbridled joy.

“Oh my god, yes! Kate, you have no idea how much I need that! I haven’t done anything that didn’t involve work in so long. I can’t even remember the last time I had a night out.”

“Great! There’s a bar in town that a girl in my Media Writing class told me doesn’t card pretty girls. So I was thinking we could get dressed up and go down there, what do you guys think?”

“Sounds great!” Ros says. I nod but am hesitant. Vegas is one thing but I really don’t want to get caught in a bar here…

Kate asks Ros about things to do in San Francisco for her weekend with Elliot and Ros does her best to respond between the constant string of interruptions from her iPhone. I look over and frown when I see that every one of them is coming from Christian. So he’s texting her and not me? Why?

When lunch is over, I hug both Kate and Ros good-bye and head off to my class, texting Christian again as I walk.

Hey, I heard you’re having a rough day. I’m sorry. We can talk tonight? I can stay over if you want.

When I get to my Fiction Writing class, I’m staring down at my phone, waiting for Christian’s response to come back, but by the time the professor starts class, I still haven’t gotten anything. Christian’s silence continues throughout the day and when I get to Business Writing that afternoon, I’m both worried and aggravated. How much effort does it take to text back Yes or No?

I pull out my notebook and pen to take notes in class and Astor takes the seat next to me.

“You lied to me,” He accuses me, and I turn and look at him, confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“You said Grey wasn’t dull because he flew Helicopters. Well, I started reading that book he suggested last night and it’s better napping material than anything else. I was imagining flying like, weaving through buildings in a city with like guns and explosions and stuff. This was more like, make sure the oil temperature is right. Dullsville, Ana.”

“Well not every book can be Jurassic Park,” I say rolling my eyes.

“Truer words,” He says, and I laugh as the professor begins class. We spend the first half hour taking notes on what makes a great resume and then break off into our study groups to come up with lists of keywords we can incorporate into our attributes sections. Astor, Carter, Aiden, and I group together and they take the assignment seriously for approximately thirty seconds before they devolve into laughter.

“Most Awesome,” Aiden says, writing the words on his paper in large, capital letters.

“Strikingly Handsome,” Carter says.

“Come on you guys,” I say, though I can’t keep the smile off my face. “Be serious.”

“Oh we’re serious, Ana,” Astor says, and he nods to Carter. “Look at him, he really is strikingly handsome.”

I roll my eyes and Astor’s face breaks into a smile.

“You’re turn, then. Come on guys, what keywords can Ana put under attributes? Nerd, perhaps?”

“Uptight,” Aiden says, with a mocking look of careful consideration.

“Horrible taste in men,” Carter adds.

“I dated you, strikingly handsome,” I retort, adding his attribute sarcastically and trying to hold back laughter.

“Yeah but Grey though,” Astor adds, and Carter nods in agreement. I shake my head with exasperation.

“Then you come up with one, Ana,” Aiden says.

I stare between them and then laugh and write down: Practically perfect in every way.

“Okay, Mary Poppins,” Astor laughs, and I nudge him as we finally are able to get to work.

When class is over, I finally have a text back from Christian though it isn’t a response to anything I’ve said to him.

Ros and I are at Annenberg. Kate is on the way.

I let out of huff of frustration but put my phone away walk out of class to meet them.

“Are you on your way to Annenberg?” Astor asks.

“Yes.”

“Need a dinner date?”

“No, I’ve got one thanks. I’m meeting my boyfriend,” I reply, emphasizing the word boyfriend to try and drive home the point. He just nods and begins asking me about my other classes.

When we reach Annenberg, the first thing I see is Christian and Ros standing off to the side of the door arguing about something. I feel relieved when I see him, realizing now how anxious I’ve been all day being away from him, but I’m also nervous. He looks mad and with what we have to talk about, I’d rather he was in a decent mood.

He looks up and sees me walking up the path. His eyes narrow and a muscle in his jaw tightens when he notices who is with me. I tell Astor I’ll talk to him later, wave goodbye, and then walk over to Christian and Ros.

“You’re just going to have to deal with it, Christian. I’m not arguing with you anymore, this is so fucking stupid,” Ros snaps as she turns to storm away. “Oh, hi, Ana.”

“Hi, Ros,” I say, smiling hesitantly.

“I’ll see you inside,” She says pleasantly, but then turns to glare at Christian one last time. I watch her leave then then turn to Christian.

“Astor and I just got out of the same class and we were going to the same place,” I tell him, heading off the argument before it can start.

“Why does it have to be him?” He demands. “Jesus, Ana. Out of everyone on this campus, why does it have to be him?”

“We’re not even really friends, Christian,” I say defensively. “We have a class together and I can’t help that.”

“And your plans for Thursday night? You’re going to a bar with Kate and Ros?” He adds disapprovingly.

“Yes, I need a girl’s night and it’s what Kate wants to do before she leaves on Friday. Her friend said they don’t card there.”

“They don’t card because they want young, hot girls to fuck their male clientele who are buying drinks,” He growls.

“You didn’t seem to care about sneaking into a bar when you were with me at Chateau in Vegas just a few weeks ago.”

“Exactly! I was with you! And that just reiterates my point. You started drinking and I fucked you that night.”

“Christian, that’s completely different! I didn’t just…” I begin, feeling myself becoming more and more angry as I speak but he holds a hand out in a gesture to stop me.

“Look, it’s been a really shitty day, Ana. I had a rough night last night and have been pissed off all day. I don’t want to take it out on you so… let’s just go eat. I’ve got to leave soon anyway.”

I let out a sigh of frustration but nod and he looks at me as if he’s torn for a moment before pulling me into him and capturing my lips with his in a tender but needy kiss. I kiss him back, feeling relieved by the diminishing tension between us in this sweet but unexpected moment of intimacy. Despite my feelings of anger towards him, my body responds to his touch with warm delight and I’m glad for it as it reminds me why I’m putting up with this. I love him. There are obstacles for us, things we need to work out as we get to know and trust each other, but I love him. This will all be worth it in the end because he is worth it.

“I hate fighting with you,” He whispers when we finally pull apart.

“I know, me too,” I reply. He exhales and entwines his fingers with mine, and together we walk together into the dining hall. In the time elapsed during my spat with Christian outside, Kate and Ros have already gotten dinner and found a table, so Christian and I leave our stuff with them and hurry off to grab food. I make myself a salad, but decide I need one of the decadent fudgy brownies stacked on the dessert station. When I’m ready to head back to the table, I turn to look for Christian, but he’s talking with someone across the room. I wait for a moment but it looks like they’re going to be a while, so I wave to get his attention and motion that I’m going back to the table. He nods at me and I set off to join Kate and Ros.

“What took you so long?” Kate asks as I sit down.

“Just…” I start, but I don’t really want to get into it right now so I stop.

“He’s been in a bad mood all day, Ana. It’s not you,” Ros says reassuringly. I smile at her and begin to eat my salad when Christian’s Blackberry buzzes on the table next to me. Ros’ head shoots up immediately before turning to look for Christian.

“Who is that?” She asks.

I look down at the phone and read the screen. “I don’t know, it’s just a number. (212) 736-3108.”

She waives her hand over for the phone, jumping up out of her seat so I hand it to her quickly.

“This is Rosaline Bailey,” She answers, her tone even and professional. “Yes, thank you for returning our call Mr. Goldhirsch. I’m sorry, let me just step outside so I can hear you better.”

She weaves her way out of the room and the moment she disappears through the doors to Annenberg, Christian appears next to me and reaches for his bag.

“I’m out of time. I have to go,” He says hurriedly. “We’ll talk tonight?”

“Yeah, bu-” I begin but he silences me with a quick good-bye kiss.

“I’ll call you when I get back,” He says as he turns to leave.

“No, you won’t,” I say turning back to my food.

“He’ll figure it out,” Kate says. “It’s not like he won’t be able to find you ten feet from his door.”

“I know. Hey, how are your classes going? I feel like I don’t know your life anymore.”

“They’re fine,” Kate says with a laugh. “I would kill for your Tuesday/Thursday schedule though. I have so much to do and no time to do it.”

“Ha, all that free time is taken over by a 6 hour shift in the library.” I tell her. “How’s Elliot?”

“He’s great. I hate that he has a whole other year at Stanford but he says when he starts looking for jobs, he’s going to try to find one in Boston.”

“That will be awesome! Except, I’ll lose my roommate.” I add disappointedly.

“Please, you’ll be married to Christian by then,” She replies, and I laugh and roll my eyes.

“Where’s Christian?” Ros asks, suddenly appearing next to the table.

“Uh… He left,” I tell her.

“Fuck.” She hisses.

“Bad news?”

“Devastating. Look, I’ve got to get back to my dorm and see if there is anything I can do to fix this which means that I’m not going to be able to meet Christian tonight and he’s going to be pissed. I’ll email him when I get back to my dorm and let him know. Can you give this back to him?” She asks, handing me Christian’s Blackberry.

“Yes,” I tell her, and she darts away again.

“I wonder what that was?” Kate asks.

“Business stuff,” I reply with a shrug. We finish dinner and head back to Grays to begin tackling our homework. I pull out the books I need and wait anxiously for my computer to decide to start up. When it eventually groans to life, I pull up my email program and find I have an email from Carter.

From: Carter Reed

Subject: Business Writing

Date: January 17th 2008 05:37 PM

To: Anastasia Steele

CC: Aiden Murphy; Astor Harrington

Hey guys, I heard that the first part of our portfolio is due next week with our resumes. I’m going out of town this weekend so I won’t be able to meet for any reviews. Any chance we can get together sometime during the week?

-Carter

I hit reply.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Business Writing Study Group

Date: January 17th 2008 06:32 PM

To: Carter Reed

CC: Aiden Murphey; Astor Harrington

I’m available for an hour before class on Wednesday or Friday and Thursday night. Let me know.

-Ana

I pull out John Milton’s Paradise Lost and begin taking notes on the reading until I am interrupted by the buzzing of Christian’s Blackberry on my bedspread. It’s Grace, so I decide to answer it.

“Hi, Grace. It’s Ana,” I say brightly.

“Hello, Ana! How are you dear?”

“I’m doing great! Just working on some homework until Christian gets back.”

“Oh that right, he’s in therapy right now. Did he forget his phone?”

“Yeah, he left it at dinner but I grabbed it to hang onto until he gets back.”

“Well that’s good. How’s Kate?”

“She’s doing well, she’s excited to see Elliot this weekend.”

“I’m sure she is. I’ll call her later in the week to wish her a safe flight, but will you tell her for me that Carrick and I love and miss her terribly and hope that she has a wonderful time in San Francisco?”

“I sure will.”

“Thank you, dear, and of course we’re looking forward to seeing you again very soon.”

“Me too.”

“Okay, well you have a wonderful evening, Ana, and have Christian call me when he gets back.”

“I will.”

“Bye, Ana.”

“Bye.”

I hang up the phone and am going to give Kate Grace’s message, but nearly the second I hit the end button, the phone buzzes again. I look down and see the very unwelcome Mrs. Lincoln flash across the screen.

“I’ll be right back, Kate,” I tell her as I jump off the bed and hurry into the hall.

“Okay…” Kate says, eyeing me suspiciously.

I step out into the hallway and answer the phone.

“Seriously? What’s it going to take with you?” I spit into the phone. “He doesn’t want to talk to you. Stop calling him.”

“Ana, what an unpleasant surprise,” Elena says disdainfully.

“I can say the exact same for you. Stop calling my boyfriend.”

“I hate to tell you this, dear, but I’m only returning his call.”

“You’re so pathetic,” I snarl.

“I really don’t have time for this, just give the phone to Christian.”

“He isn’t here right now.”

“Please, Anastasia. You’re insulting my intelligence. He always has his phone on him, it’s one of the rule—” She says, though her voice cuts off as she realizes what she’s about to say.

“You’re disgusting. Stop. Calling,” I snap,and hang up the phone, feeling rage burning through me. I viscerally hate this woman. It takes me a minute to calm down and when I finally do, I turn to go back into my room but find myself hesitating. Doubt begins to creep into my mind as I think about what she said.

I’m only returning his call.

Slowly, guiltily, I look down at the phone and look into Christian’s call log. Bile creeps into my throat as, sure enough, I see:

Outgoing: Mrs. Lincoln 2:34 PM 00:03

“Ana?” I hear Christian’s hesitant voice say behind me. I turn to face him, feeling the anger from earlier compounding upon this new feeling of betrayal. “Oh, you found my pho-“

“Why would you call her?” I ask in a low, barely controlled voice.

“What do you mean?”

“Elena. Why would you call her?”

“You went through my phone?” He replies, anger rising in his voice now. My eyes narrow and I hurl the Blackberry at him, which bounces off his arm and skitters across the floor of the hallway as I move towards my door.

“Ana!” Christian calls to stop me.

“Don’t Ana me, Christian Grey. I’m so beyond pissed right now, I just..” I can’t even finish the sentence as I worry it will turn into a screaming match in the middle of the hallway and I don’t really feel like putting on a show for everyone. I open the door and slam it closed behind me leaving Christian standing dumbfounded in the hallway.

“What’s wrong?” Kate asks with alarm.

“I can’t do this,” I cry, collapsing to the ground and leaning against the door.

“Ana,” She says sympathetically. She crosses the room and sits on the ground, wrapping her arms around me. She holds me for a moment, rubbing her hand over my arm reassuringly, until I get the irrational tears under control. “You need to go talk to him,” She says. “Whatever is going on between the two of you is just getting worse because you’re not talking.”

“I know, but I can’t right now. I need some time alone.”

“Do you want to go get some ice-cream?” She asks.

“No, I think I’m just going to go to bed.”

“Okay, let me know if I can get you anything.” She says. I nod and peel myself off the floor and shuffle over to my bed, tossing my books and laptop on the floor and crawling under the blankets. Hours pass until I’m finally able to fall asleep and when I do, I’m still restless. Perhaps that’s why I’m stirred awake by a gentle knock on my door in the middle of the night.

I stare at the door for a minute, wonder if I really heard it but when the sound comes again a few seconds later, I roll out of bed to answer it. When I open the door, Christian is standing there looking ashen and covered in a sheen of sweat, he’s shaking.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“Please come sleep next to me,” He croaks. I nod quickly and reach around the door for my bathrobe and pull it over me. He looks relieved though still shaken as we cross over to his room and he immediately tugs me into his arms and leads me to his bed.

“I know you’re mad at me,” He whispers, his voice still uneven. “I just need to hold you for a while.”

“Are you okay? You’re shaking,” I ask, worriedly. He nods and leans in to kiss me. The urgent need of this kiss frightens me as I worry what has happened. Was it another nightmare? Guilt washes through me as I remember him telling me he doesn’t have nightmares when I sleep next to him and so I kiss him back willingly, allowing his tongue access to my mouth.

“I love you, Ana,” He whispers. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Christian,” I tell him, taking care to look him deeply in the eyes as I do. “Even when I’m mad at you.”

He kisses me again, though this time, his hands brush up my sides and over my breasts. I feel his fingers tug at the neckline of my cami as he releases my breast and I realize what he’s doing.

“Christian…” I say hesitantly, unsure if this is a good idea for where we are right now.

“Please, Ana,” He pleads as his lips move to the skin of my neck. “I need to.”

I look down at him, seeing the memory of fear still lingering in his eyes and feel my hesitation overpowered by my concern. I can’t bear to see him like this and if I can take his hurt away…

Quickly, I lean into him and mold my lips to his, reveling in his answering moan as his fingers move into my hair to hold me in place. Our tongues dance together as he rolls over on top of me and moves his hands to explore the rest of my body. Eventually, his patience evaporates and he pulls down my pajama bottoms and finds me ready for him.

“Oh, Ana,” He moans as he slips a finger inside of me. I moan and I as I do his teeth sink into my bottom lip.

“I need you, now,” He says again.

“Then take me,” I whisper. He shifts slightly and I wait impatiently until I feel him pressing against me. He swirls the tip of his erection around my opening to lubricate himself and then plunges inside of me. I gasp at the sudden ferocity of his movements as he strokes in and out of me with quick, hard thrusts, giving me no time to adjust to his size. It’s slightly painful but somehow that pain only intensifies the pleasure, and it takes no time at all before I’m lost in this moment with him

“Be quick, baby,” He says. I moan, already feeling the deep sensation of pleasure building within me. Holy fuck, this is so fast. I haven’t even really got to enjoy him yet.

“No, Christian,” I moan, trying to squirm away from him but failing as he reaches down and holds me in place.

“Yes, Ana,” He says fiercely. “Come on, baby, I need this. Give it to me.”

His fingers loosen their grip on my arms and make their way down to my clitoris and the sensation of his fingers swirling slow, sensual circles around the most sensitive part of my body coupled with his hard, relentless thrusts inside of me cause me to explode. I can’t hold back the cry of pleasure as I come around him.

“Oh, yes!” He hisses as if he’s been overcome by an enormous sense of relief and he too climaxes deep inside of me. He collapses on the bed next to me and the next few minutes are filled only with the sounds of our synchronized, heavy breathing. I’m exhausted and I have no idea what time it is. His phone is on the nightstand so I reach over and push a button to illuminate the screen and see that it’s nearly 3 AM. I groan and feel his arms wrap around me.

“Sleep, baby,” He whispers and I oblige without hesitation. My body relaxes in the warmth of his arms and I drift into a deep, restful sleep that I haven’t experienced since the last time I slept with him wrapped around me.

I think I hear Christian’s alarm sound not too long after I drift off, but he turns it off quickly and I’m able to fall back asleep. In fact, by the time I really awaken, light is streaming into the room and I find myself completely alone, which means he must have come back from the gym, showered, and left for class already. His phone is gone and mine is still on my own nightstand so I have no idea what time it is.

Scrambling out of bed as quickly as possible, I dress in the pajamas on the ground next to Christian’s bed and hurry across the hall. My phone tells me that I only have 15 minutes to get to class so I change into a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and jacket, throw my hair into a ponytail and gather my things before flying out the door. I only just remember to use the key Christian gave me to lock his room as well as mine, and then I hurry off to class. I’m halfway across campus when my phone alarm goes off, telling me it’s time to take my birth control so I have to take a detour to a water fountain to wash down a pill which ends up making me late for class.

My whole day feels rushed. I’m going out with Kate and Ros tonight so I decide to use the hour between my class and work to shower and change rather than eat lunch. Kate’s make-up case is open on the bathroom counter so I do my best to imitate what I’ve watched her do to me dozens of times and, although it doesn’t come out as perfectly as it does when she does it, it looks pretty good. I roll my hair into a messy bun with a sock Kate keeps in a plastic case with her hair ties and change into a nicer pair of jeans, a shimmery pearl colored top, and a black sweater. I throw Christian’s leather jacket on rather than my winter coat and dash out the door so I won’t be late for work.

When I get to the library and get settled in, I realize I’ve left my phone in my dorm, which is awful both because it’s slow again today and I’ll have nothing to help me pass the time, and because I haven’t gotten to speak with Christian yet today. I want to know how he’s doing after last night.

I spend my entire shift sitting at the circulation desk, watching people coming in and out the front doors and periodically helping students check out books. Eventually, I decide to find something to read and end up losing myself in Emma until I’m interrupted by the sound of heavy books falling on the counter in front of me.

“You look nice today,” A familiar voice says in conjunction with the loud thudding of books. I look up to see Astor smiling down at me.

“Thanks. I’m going out tonight,” I say, as I take his student ID and begin scanning books for him.

“Date night?”

“Girls night,” I correct him.

“I see. You haven’t responded to my email,” He says.

“I haven’t had time to check email today.”

“Well, I was responding to your study date proposal.”

“It’s not a date, Astor. It’s a study group.”

“Semantics,” He shrugs. “I was thinking we could have dinner next week. Go over our portfolios over a meal. My treat.”

“I can’t go out to dinner with you, Astor,” I say exasperatedly. “You’re not going to trick me into going on a date with you, I have a boyfriend.”

“It’s not a date, Anastasia. I don’t make it a habit of bringing two other guys on a dates with me and Aiden and Carter will be there.”

I stare at him suspiciously for a moment and then sigh.

“Coffee,” I tell him. “We can meet at that coffee shop off campus and go over our portfolio there.”

“Great,” He says brightly. “Next Thursday night after you get off work?”

“Sure,” I shrug, handing him back his ID and the books. He smiles as he takes them from me.

“It’s a date then,” He says, and he walks away.

“It’s not a date!” I yell after him, though I regret it immediately as, when I look up, I can see Kate, Ros, and Christian standing at the door. Christian glares murderously at Astor as he passes by him. I wonder if Astor did that on purpose, knowing Christian was standing there. I feel a sense of dread course over me as Kate and Ros come over to me but Christian doesn’t move. Oh no, I really don’t want to do this with him again.

“You left this on the bathroom counter,” Kate says, handing me my phone, and I smile gratefully at her.

“Ready?” Ros asks brightly, obviously elated to be going out instead of working with Christian tonight.

“Yeah, just let me tell my boss,” I say. I let Ryan know I’m leaving and then grab Christian’s jacket from a coat hook in the main office. When I return to shutdown my computer, Ros is bouncing up and down with excitement and Kate is reaching into her jacket to pull out her phone.

“Hi, Grace.” She says. “Yep, I’m all set to go.”

Kate holds a finger out telling us she’ll be one minute so once the computer screen goes black and I take a deep breath and walk over to Christian.

“Hi,” I say hesitantly.

“Hello,” He replies coolly.

“Look,” I begin, stepping close to him and lowering my voice so Ros can’t hear what I’m saying. “I get it, okay. Astor is kind of a dick and I think he’s doing this to get a rise out of you. I can see that now and I’ll keep that in mind. We’re not friends. We’re not anything, just two people who happen to be taking the same class, okay? You don’t have to worry about him. I love you, Christian. You’re the only thing I want in the entire world.”

“How come you haven’t answered any of my texts or calls all day?”

“I left my phone in my dorm,” I tell him. He exhales irritably, but nods his head. Before I can say anything else, though, Kate walks up to us.

“Your mom wants to talk to you,” She says, holding her phone out to him. Christian looks down at it hesitantly before taking a deep breath and taking the phone from her and walking away from us to talk.

“What is that about?” Kate asks.

“He’s avoiding his mom’s calls,” I tell her, my gaze still focused on Christian as he paces back and forth in front of the library door.

“I know, she said that. I mean why?”

I shrug, unable to tell her the real reason and watch as Christian walks back to us looking angry.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“My parents are coming next week,” He says.

“Really?” Kate asks excitedly. “I wonder if that means Elliot will come?”

“He will,” Christian says darkly. “They all will. Mr. Lincoln will be here on business this week and he’s bought everyone tickets to a ballet in Boston my mom has been dying to see.”

“Mr. Lincoln?” I ask hesitantly and Christian’s eyes darken as he looks at me. I swallow hard as I feel my throat tighten. I know what comes with Mr. Lincoln and we’ve only had a couple weeks away from the bitch troll. I thought we’d get at least until spring break….

“Let’s go!” Ros whines behind us and I feel Kate’s excitement begin to bubble up next to me. She doesn’t have an overwhelming sense of dread at the news of Elena’s eminent arrival.

“Will you stay with me tonight?” Christian asks, and both Kate and Ros begin to hurry my forward.

“If you want me to,” I tell him.

“I always want you to,” He replies.

I’m able to squirm away from Kate and Ros just long enough to kiss Christian good-bye before they’re pulling me out the door again, leaving Christian standing alone in the entrance of the library watching us disappear into the night.

Next Chapter

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