Chapter 31

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I wake up the next morning to Christian softly nuzzling my hair. I’m not quite ready to wake up yet, but a small smile breaks across my face as the enjoyment of the warm comfort of this plush bed and the gentle caress of Christian’s touch breaks into my consciousness.

“Good morning,” He says quietly.

“Good morning,” I mumble in reply. With great effort, I turn onto my side and blindly find his lips.

“What do you want to do today?” He asks, when I finally concede that the day is here and open my eyes.

“Homework. I have a lot of reading to catch up on,” I tell him. He frowns which I figure means he must have other plans so I continue. “What do you want to do today?”

“Find out how many times I can make you come,” He says, his sensual tone dark with promise yet smooth like velvet.

“You, Christian Grey, are insatiable,” I say with a laugh.

“You, Anastasia Steele, are irresistible.” He replies. I laugh again.

“Maybe we can work out some kind of compromise between the two,” I say, biting my lip.

He moans and his eyes focus in on my teeth sinking into my bottom lip. He rolls over on top of me, kissing me deeply, tugging my bottom lip away for himself. I expect his movements to become rough and urgent as he peels me out of my clothes but they don’t. Instead, despite the needy rush of his breathing and the desperate way his lips claim mine, this morning, he makes sweet, tender love to me.

“Do you want breakfast?” He asks, as we lay together basking in our post-coital bliss. The sun is beginning to peek through the windows but it is muted by a thin layer of frost coating the glass. I turn to look outside and though it still looks as though we’re tucked away in a fantasy hide away, it also looks bitingly cold.

“Do we have to leave to get breakfast?” I ask morosely.

“You don’t,” He replies. “I want you to do nothing but relax and enjoy yourself this weekend. They’ll have made breakfast up at the main house. I’ll bring it back here for us.”

“I do not deserve you,” I say, the gratefulness I feel apparent in my voice as I speak with near awe.

“I think you have that backwards,” He says gently, and I feel myself melt. “I’ll start a fire before I go, don’t get out of bed.”

“Hurry back,” I tell him. “The sooner we’re finished with breakfast the sooner we can go for number two. I did so enjoy number one.”

He smiles a very self-pleased smile and moves to the fireplace. Once the room is flooded with the warmth of the crackling flames, he disappears through the door into a gust of cold wind. I only have to wait a few moments before he returns, pink cheeked, and holding two covered dishes. He places them on the table next to the couch and I reluctantly climb out of bed, pulling the socks I discarded last night over my feet to shield them from the cold, hardwood floor.

“Come here,” I say, wrapping my arms around him and rubbing my hands up and down his arms to warm him up. He reaches around and pulls me onto the couch. I cry out playfully, giggling as he crawls on top of me and kisses me.

“Your face is cold,” I say, still unable to cease my laughter.

“Warm me up,” He says, pressing his lips to mine gently.

“Mmmm, my pleasure,” I say, and the waffles he’s laid out on the table next to us go completely forgotten as we make love for the second time.

The rest of the morning is much the same. Unfortunately, I wasn’t over exaggerating about the amount of reading I have to do, so I lie in bed, reading and taking notes on Paradise Lost, while Christian sits at the coffee table looking through about a dozen different textbooks and stacks of documents that are so thick they look as though they could be books themselves. I stare at him while he concentrates very hard on what’s in front of him. He looks so strikingly handsome, lost in thought and brooding over his work, and as John Milton isn’t exactly the most exciting read I’ve ever had, I find myself distracted. Eventually, I decide maybe I just need a break and cross the room to sit down next to him on the floor.

“What are you working on?” I ask, picking up his textbook and scanning it for something that I recognize. He seems to be reading something about international trade.

“I’m trying to figure out how to get a freighter of food from Belgium to Austria in a cost effective manner without having to travel through Germany,” He says.

“Why?” I ask, confused.

“It’s for the International Economic Summit Ros and I are in this semester.”

“Oh yeah that Mock UN thing…”

“It’s more than Mock UN, Ana. Rather than just dealing with foreign relations, we run a simulated version of their government and economy for a semester and whichever country makes the most progress in GDP, while fulfilling their needs for sustainability, wins. Ros and I have Austria and our scenario is that our crops have been destroyed by drought and there is a dangerous strain of disease affecting our livestock.”

“So you’re trading with Belgium for food?”

“Trying to. Germany has set up a trade embargo on us and since the fastest, least expensive train line from Belgium goes through Germany, it’s being blocked.”

“Why does Germany have a trade embargo against you?”

“Because Astor Harrington has Germany.”

“He truly is the Axis of Evil,” I say with a laugh, but Christian just rolls his eyes.

“He’s an idiot. He wanted the biggest economy possible so he could control the most amount of assets and since the US was already taken, he picked the largest economy in the EU. How he thinks he’s going to grow an economy when he’s already at the top of the food chain and he is setting up pointless trade embargos, is beyond me.”

“Well, that’s why you’re going to win and he’s going to lose,” I say. “Do you need some help?”

“Depends. How familiar are you with trade routes through Western Europe?” He asks jokingly.

“I’m practically an expert, Mr. Grey,” I reply sarcastically, and begin digging through the books in front of him for something useful, though I’m not exactly sure what useful would look like in this situation. We work for a few hours trying different routes: south through France, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, and north over the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and down through Poland and the Czech Republic, but the cost is astronomical.

“Does it have to be Belgium?” I ask, feeling myself get discouraged. “Why don’t you trade with Italy, or Hungary, or Slovenia or something?”

“I tried. They don’t need what I have to offer them in trade. I could probably strike a deal with France but they’re asking for more than I’m willing to pay in return,” He responds, still reading through the document in his hands.

I sigh and pick up a different stack of papers, scanning them quickly as I flip through them. The document I’m holding details the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as set forth by the United Nations and I’m about to set it aside as it has nothing to do with trade, but stop as my eyes fall upon something that might be useful. I check one more thing in a second UN charter detailing trade and… yes! I’m right! This might work!

“Christian, what is Austria’s human rights score on the UN Index?”

“89.5.” He replies disinterestedly.

“And the embargo placed upon you by Germany has nothing to do with human rights violations?”

“No, it’s an ideology dispute. My human rights index is fine, Ros just revamped the tax code to increase social programs for impoverished families, and we just passed a law to protect voter rights.” He says.

“Then… why don’t you just appeal the UN to step in and allow the shipment to travel though Germany?” I ask, and he actually looks up at me.

“Germany has the right to impose trade embargoes, Ana, and we’re too focused on feeding out people to take military action against Germany. The UN won’t intervene on an embargo without an act of war,” He says.

“Yes, but you’re not trading with Germany. You’re trading with Belgium and Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate to their health and well being. Look, food is specifically listed here. If the embargo isn’t due to human rights violations and your human rights index is higher than 75…”

“Then they can’t interfere with the transaction because they’d be denying basic human rights,” Christian finishes for me. His face lights up with excitement as he takes the second document out of my hands, skims it quickly, and highlights two lines. He turns to me, grasps my face, and crashes his lips to mine in a passionate kiss.

“I fucking love you,” He says triumphantly. I smile back at him, pleased I was able to help and saunter back over to the bed to resume Milton. I hear him scribbling furiously on a pad of paper for a few minutes and when he’s finished, he gets off the floor and slowly saunters over to me.

“Again?” He asks, and by the seductive way his hand moves up my leg, I know exactly what he means.

“I know you’ve had a breakthrough but I still have a ton of reading to do. Let me get through this and I’ll take a break before I start my fiction writing homework.”

“Okay,” He agrees but his hand continues to run up my thigh.

“What are you doing?” I ask, looking pointedly at him around my book.

“Keep reading. It’s very important that you get your homework done,” He says. His fingers hook over the band of my leggings and panties and he pulls them down, peeling them off of me.

“Christian!” I protest.

“Keep reading, Anastasia,” He says. “Why don’t you read it out loud to me? I can’t say I’m familiar with John Milton.”

“Give me back my leggings,” I argue, but he shakes his head playfully. Fine, you want to play it that way, Grey? I pick up the book and continue to read, refusing to let him distract me.

“Out loud, Anastasia,” He commands.

“Oh thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned, lookest from thy sole dominion like the God of this new world; at whose sight all the stars hi-ahhh,” I gasp, my words breaking off as Christian runs his nose up my instep and takes my big toe into his mouth. A wave of sensual thrill runs through me and I quiver slightly as he begins leaving a string of soft kisses up my leg.

“Keep reading,” He says. I bite my lip as his hands separate my thighs.

“Christian!” I gasp, accepting and surrendering to him as I feel myself melting under his expert touch. He wants me to read? How does he expect me to focus on anything with him doing this to me?

“Keep reading or I’ll stop,” He says. “You said you need to finish your homework.”

I groan slightly and try to refocus. Come on, Steele. You can do this.

“At whose sight all the stars hide their diminished heads; to thee I call, but with no friendly voice and add thy name of sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,” I continue, trying very hard to remain fixated on the text, but not absorbing anything I’m reading.

Christian’s hands move underneath me, gripping my behind as he lifts me slightly off the bed. He moves close enough to me that I can feel his breath against me, between my legs, and the anticipation is killing me. He hovers there, listening to the arrhythmic iambic pentameter of Paradise Lost and then slowly, he leans down and places a gentle kiss on my clitoris.

I whimper as I feel his lips moving on me, gently caressing me with the lightest touch. It’s enough to make me want him, to make me need him, but not enough to promise release. I take a deep breath to gain control of myself, lift the book again, and, with a great deal of effort, begin to read. The moment the words come from my mouth, his tongue is on me, gently swirling around my clitoris. My skin is heated, sensitized by the need the feel of his mouth is bringing out in me and I want nothing more than to throw the book aside and concentrate solely on his ministrations so I can be fully present at the moment I ignite. I resist the urge though, as I know if I stop reading, he will stop and I’ll be left wanting.

I struggle through the difficult text, knowing that I’ll have to re-read everything but not caring as the more I read aloud the more intense his movements on me become. I’m breathing heavily, straining to get the words out, as his mouth creates suction over my most sensitive area. Desire is coursing through me and, as each pull of his lips working in tandem with his skilled tongue brings me closer to the edge, it becomes harder and harder to continue. He moves his fingers onto me, stroking the lips at my entrance and then he slips his index finger into me and begins to ease it in and out. I moan loudly and when his middle finger joins the first, I give up any pretext of continuing to read, drop the book on the bed, and reach down to grip his hair.

He groans and his fingers begin to move faster. I can feel him stroking the most sensitive spot inside of me and the heady mix of that and his continued attention to my clitoris with his mouth sends me over the edge, and I feel myself begin to quiver and tighten around his fingers. My orgasm overpowers me and he has to hold my hips down so that I don’t involuntarily buck away from him. The deep carnal moans he emits as he continues his assault upon me while I ride through my orgasm ignites the lust within me and I become single minded in my need for him.

At last I come down and he pulls away from me. His tongue runs over his lips as he removes the last traces of me from his mouth.

“Six,” He says, continuing the tally he’s kept all day of each orgasm he’s given me. His voice is husky and he looks down at me with a heated gaze as he begins to undo the zipper of his jeans. He eases his erection out from his boxers and my teeth sink into my bottom lip as I anticipate him inside of me. Standing quickly, he pulls off his t-shirt, removes his jeans, and climbs back onto the bed. I’m forced to wait impatiently as he reaches over my head, takes two pillows and places them beneath my behind. With the added height, I’m even with him while he’s on his knees. He grasps both of my legs, places them over his shoulder and slams into me.

My legs are held together over his right shoulder giving him less space inside of me to move, but I’m so wet from my orgasm, he slides in and out of me with little resistance. The added tightness is heaven as I feel every inch of him inside of me, every movement he makes. I think the constriction is doubly pleasurable for him as his mouth is open and his brow creased, illustrating the effort it takes for him to not lose himself too quickly. The sight of him like this brings out a hedonistic need within me I haven’t experienced before. I know the pleasure he’s experiencing, but I want more. I want to see him overcome and know that I’m the one doing it. I squeeze my kegel muscles and watch him begin to unravel.

“Fuck, Ana!” He hisses. “I can’t… mmm come for me. Please Ana, come for me.”

I stare up at him, my chest heaving as my breath comes in short but deep gasps, and squeeze him again with the muscles deep inside of me. He growls and his face screws up with concentration as he begins to pound into me at a bruising pace. I cry out unwillingly, struggling to maintain the tightness around him, but after merely seconds, I feel myself detonate into a mind shattering orgasm. His face relaxes and he exhales sharply. While I ride the wave of my orgasm, I feel the slight ripple inside of me that tells me he’s coming, emptying himself inside of me.

As we come down together, he continues to hold himself over me. His arms are shaking with the effort to hold himself up after he’s completely drained himself of energy, but he doesn’t move. Eventually, when he’s regained his bearings, he pulls out of me and collapses on the bed next to me.

“That book is terrible,” He says through his still labored breath. I laugh.

“I still need to read a few more pages and I have writing homework to do too,” I say, and he groans.

“You know, you’re really killing all this romance that I’m trying to create with your sense of responsibility.”

“No, I’m not,” I say honestly. “Even with all the homework, this is still the most romantic weekend I’ve ever had. Just give me a couple more hours and I’ll be all yours.”

“Fine,” He says, begrudgingly. “I have a paper I can get started on for Research and Qualitative Methods.”

“Ha! And you say Paradise Lost is dry,” I laugh.

He smiles and kisses me once more before climbing out of bed, pulling his jeans back on and returning to his study place between the couch and the coffee table.

Christian heads up to the main cabin to get us dinner at about six, but I end up writing while I eat as I know I’m starting to lose interest in my homework and if I take a break, I won’t finish it. Christian settles down on the couch once his homework is finished and turns on some movie that I don’t recognize. I’m surprised he’s coping so well without cell service. Usually, his Blackberry is permanently attached to his hand. He hasn’t spoken with Ros in over 24 hours and that is extremely unusual, but also heartwarming. He really is here with me. I have his full attention, and I’m wasting it on homework.

Since I’m nearly done anyway and I’ll have a few hours on Monday night to finish writing the section I’m working on, I decide to call it quits on work for the night and walk over to cuddle next to Christian on the couch.

“What are you watching?” I ask.

“Hook. It was mine and Elliot’s favorite movie when we were kids.”

“I’ve never seen it.”

“You probably won’t like it then,” He laughs. “It’s pretty cheesy.”

“Mmm,” I mumble, nestling against him. I relax into him, trying to settle down for the evening when a movement outside the window catches my eye.

“It’s snowing,” I say quietly. He turns to look out the window and then back down at me.

“Do you want to go for a walk? It’s beautiful out there.”

“Sure,” I tell him. He reaches out for the remote and turns off the TV. We dress in warm clothes and then he takes my hand and we step out into the chilly night. I take a deep breath of the cold, crisp air. It smells faintly of pine and that reminds me of the lush green forests back home. The snow falls around us in huge, wet flakes, while the snow already covering the ground twinkles in the light streaming out from our windows.

“Are we the only ones here?” I ask, noticing that the windows to the other cabins are all dark.

“I think so,” Christian says. “This place is mostly popular during the fall. There is a maple grove on the other side of the main house and they do syrup harvesting.”

“That sounds like fun,” I say.

“Then we’ll come back next fall,” He promises. I smile at him as we continue up the marked path, talking about everything from past vacations to favorite childhood memories. I listen intently as I’m gifted this rare chance to get to know him, to hear him talk about himself and his childhood. The tenderness in his voice when he talks about Mia is heartwarming. When he talks about Elliot on the other hand, I have to focus a little harder to hear his adoration. It’s there though. He’s fairly open about his mother, and his obvious respect and adoration for her and everything she does, but he doesn’t talk about Carrick much, and though I don’t say anything, I wonder why that is.

We walk a ways away from the cabin and come to a clearing with a small lake, completely frozen over. Christian wraps his arms around me as we look around, absorbing the beautiful scene before us, content with the silence so long as we can stand here holding each other.

“What do you want to do after you graduate?” Christian asks me quietly. “If you could do anything, dream of dreams, what would it be?”

“I don’t know,” I shrug. “I think something in publishing. Possibly, copy writing or maybe editing. We’ll see.”

“Really? Your big dream is editing?” He asks, surprised and slightly doubtful. “You could be so much more than that. I know that. You know that. I don’t believe for a second the girl who fought her way to Harvard is eyeing a lifelong career in editing.”

“Well, I guess if we’re really aiming high… I’d like to run a publishing house one day.”

“Why?” He asks, though this time his tone isn’t disapproving, it’s genuinely curious.

“Women are greatly underrepresented in the literature field, especially in genres like fantasy or science fiction. There aren’t a lack of women writers, it’s just a book is less likely to be picked up by an agent or publisher if it’s written by a female. Having something published is a lifelong dream for a lot of really talented people and they shouldn’t face adversity when attempting to achieve that dream based on their gender. I want to run gender blind publishing house so that anyone with a true talent to share with the world, can. I want to make people’s dreams come true.”

“Then don’t settle for anything less, Anastasia. The key to greatness is passion. If that is what you’re passionate about, then you’ll be great at it.”

“What makes you so passionate about this business you’re starting with Ros?” I ask.

“Before? I wanted to be the best at something people could respect. I wanted to have real power and make a difference for the things and people I care about, and I wanted to make enough money that not I, nor any of my family, would ever want or need for anything.”

“Before? It’s different now?”

“Now, all I want is to give you the world, and that motivation is more powerful than any I’ve ever had before.”

I smile at him as if feel a deep sense of satisfaction blossoming within me. I’m a part of his plans for the future. This isn’t a flash in the pan or a college romance he’ll think fondly about from time to time ten years in the future. This is a forever kind of love.

“I love you, Christian,” I tell him softly. He kisses me, his hands gripping my cheeks as I relinquish myself to him.

“Are you cold?” He asks, feeling the shiver that runs over me. We’ve been out here a while… How far have we walked?

“I’m a little cold,” I admit.

“Let’s get you back inside,” He says.

He wraps me under his arm and leads me back into the cabin, which is a surprisingly long distance away. I’m nearly frozen by the time we get back, though once we step inside the first thing we notice is that the fire has gone out and the now chilly room doesn’t offer the respite from the cold we had hoped. Christian begins to reconstruct the fire and I search for new clothes and socks as mine seemed to have managed to get wet on our walk. Digging through my purple suitcase to find something that I know is warm and comfortable, my fingers move over something small but hard. I grab it and realize that it’s the camera Ray got me for Christmas. I must have forgotten to unpack it…

I smile as an idea crosses my mind and once I’m redressed in dry clothes, I walk purposefully over to Christian, lean in next to him, and hold out the camera to take a picture of the two of us.

“What are you doing?” He asks.

“I want to remember this perfect weekend,” I tell him. He smiles and I snap another picture. That’s right, I get actual proof that Christian Grey does occasionally smile.

“Alright, Alright. Enough with the camera,” He says, taking it from me and setting it on the table. We decide that we want to lay down and watch the movie, but since the room is still a little cold, we want to stay next to the fire rather than get into bed. The couch isn’t quite big enough for the two of us to lay down on, so Christian moves the coffee table out of the sitting area while I grab some pillows and the quilt off the bed, and we settle down onto the fur rug in front of the fire. Surprisingly, it’s extremely comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that when he resumes the movie he was watching earlier, I only watch it for about 20 minutes before I feel my eyes begin to droop.

“What time is it?” I ask sleepily.

“Nearly 11,” He says looking over at the clock next to the bed. “Do you want to sleep?”

I nod and he shifts like he’s going to get up but I grip onto his sleeve to stop him.

“The fire feels nice, can we stay here for a while?” I ask.

“You want to sleep on the floor?”

“Just for a while. I’ll probably wake up in a few hours and by then the whole room will be warm.”

A small smile crosses his lips and he kisses my head before moving to lie back down next to me where he was originally. I snuggle against him while he wraps me in his arms so that my head rests on his shoulder. Then, without thinking, I bring my hand up and rest it lightly on his chest.

He tenses immediately and inhales sharply through his nose. I immediately realize my mistake and try to pull my hand away, but he captures my wrist.

“Wait,” He says. He takes two deep, deliberate breaths as if to prepare himself and then slowly, places my hand back down on him. I can feel the tension in his body as he attempts to breathe through the… stress? Fear? Pain? I don’t know.

“Christian, I don’t have to…” I say. I can rationalize his fear, understand that his inability to be touched by anyone is a consequence of past trauma, but to have him look so tortured by my touch sends a shock of pain through me that I eventually recognize as rejection. I know this isn’t personal, I know it’s all touch, not only mine that causes this extreme reaction… but still, it’s heartbreaking to have him so negatively affected. Tears begin to spring to my eyes and again I try to pull my hand away but just like before, he stops me.

“No, I want you to,” He says. He holds my hand to him and I remain as still as a stone, terrified to move. We lay there this way for several minutes but he doesn’t relax.

“Are you okay?” I ask. He nods but reaches down and moves my hand away from him, unable to handle it any longer.

“I’m sorry,” I tell him quietly. I feel a tear escape down my cheek and he wipes it away with his thumb and then kisses me.

“I want you to touch me, Ana,” He whispers against my lips, though his voice is still riddled with pain. “I just can’t bear it.”

“I know,” I reply sadly. “I understand.”

“I love you so much. I need you, Ana. I will always need you,” He says.

“I need you too, Christian,” I say.

He leans over and kisses me again and I pour all of my love into him, hoping to assuage the fear that still grips him. As our mouths move together in perfect synchronization, he begins to relax and the heat between us increases. It’s not long before I’m pulling my clothes off, pulling his clothes off, just to feel him against me.

He makes love to me in a deep, passionate, meaningful way that is different from every other time. This isn’t only about physical satisfaction or release. This is about our commitment. This is about trust and acceptance and fully giving ourselves to one another. This is about our love, what it is and what it will be. The intimacy of it is overwhelming. As I lay, pinned beneath him in front of the fire in a cabin somewhere in the forest in Vermont, something inside of me changes and I know that what I have with Christian is no ordinary love. He is an irreversible cosmic shift in my own personal universe, changing who I am as I’m opened to the full capacity I have to love another person.

I am his.

He is mine.

Two simple truths that I realize now have always been true and will always be true.

Next Chapter

 

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One thought on “Chapter 31

  1. I love what this chapter shows about Ana and Christian’s relationship. They genuinely enjoy being around one another AND TALKING about their hopes and dreams. Christian clearly envisions building his life around Anastasia and sees his dream of a company as being transformed by Ana into a way of making both of their dreams come true. Christian is truly RELAXED around Ana and open with her. PLUS, he clearly loves her BRAINS as well as her beauty, and Ana is even able to help him with his homework, despite not being an economics major. And Christian ADORES that Ana found the solution to his problem and is not threatened by her or embarrassed that she found the solution that he could not. They really have the full relationship.

    It is interesting that even in this chapter, Christian’s feelings towards Carrick seem a mixed bag. We learn from the ABSOF Outtakes that he later comes to realize JUST how important Carrick was to him in the past and how much he treasures his memories. But at this time, Christian still probably has Elena’s words in the back of his mind that his parents don’t REALLY care about him because they would not give him the money to start his company until he completed Harvard. And Christian may still harbor resentment that Carrick didn’t immediately love Ana. ASSOF shows that Christian has RESOLVED his earlier misgivings with Carrick and now values fully their close relationship. I believe that until Christian saw FULLY through Elena’s manipulations, he could not really believe that Carrick DID love him. Because of the secrecy with his and Elena’s relationship, real walls were built between Christian and his family, which Elena fully intended in order to exploit Christian’s body AND ambitious nature to her benefit alone.

    And it really DID take Ana to pave the way for Christian and Carrick to have a very real and strong family relationship that both wanted to have. Which is another reason why BOTH Grey men truly value Ana’s introduction to the Grey family.

    Like

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