I arrive at GEH at 6:30AM. Everyone always says you should arrive for your first day of work at least 15 minutes before you’re supposed to be there, but now I wish I hadn’t. Everything is locked. I peer through the glass and I don’t see anyone. Not even the cleaning crew.
“Rachel?” I hear someone shout behind me and I see the blonde girl who interviewed me coming up the steps behind me. What was her name? Fuck, oh Andrea. That’s right, Andrea.
“Hi,” I say shyly as she comes up on me.
“Glad you could make it this early, and on such short notice,” She says, smiling. She unlocks the door and motions to me to walk through first. Once we’re through the immaculately clean glass door, she re-locks it, reaches into her pocket, and pulls out another set of keys, which she hands to me.
“This won’t be the first time you open the building, trust me,” she says. I nod and take the keys from her.
She walks behind the desk in the huge foyer and starts up the computer. I look around for another chair but I don’t see anything. I guess I’ll just stand here until she tells me what to do. I watch as she pulls out a digital camera. She points it at me.
“Smile,” she says brightly and I’m blinded by the flash.
“What…” I begin but she interrupts me.
“It’s for your security badge. You won’t be able to get into a lot of areas around the building without one.”
While she uploads the photo into the computer, she unlocks the bottom right drawer of the desk and pulls out a plastic badge. She places it in a machine and a minute later hands me a newly laminated badge with my picture on it. Ugh, its not a great picture.
I follow her away from the desk and to the elevator.
“Oh,” I say surprised. “This isn’t your desk?”
“No,” she laughs. “Christina works down here. We are up on the 20th floor.” I follow her into the elevator that takes us up twenty floors and releases us into a modern, clean lobby. She turns to me as we exit the elevator.
“I’m not going to have a lot of time to train you, so I need you to pay close attention,” she says. I nod and she leads me to the desk in front of the large, light wood double doors.
“This is where we work. You can keep your purse in here,” she opens a drawer, places her bag inside and I do the same.
“I’ll need you to sign this before we get started.”
“What is it?” I ask, staring hesitantly at the paper she picks up off the desk.
“It’s a non-disclosure agreement.”
“It’s standard for everyone in the company. You’ll be dealing with a lot of confidential information.”
I shrug and sign the document.
“Now, the first thing we do every morning is start a pot of coffee,” She leads me down a short hallway, pointing out the bathrooms on the right, and into a small break room. She shows me how to work the coffee maker, which is fancier than anything I’ve ever seen outside of a Starbucks, and shows me around the break room.
“There are snacks in here if you get hungry and we keep the fridge stocked with water bottles and juice. Don’t touch the Perrier, or the lemon wedges. Those are for Mr. Grey only,” she says and then leads me back into the foyer.
“Mr. Grey usually gets here sometime between 7AM and 9AM. You need to be here every morning by 6:45 at the latest to make sure there is coffee ready. We make a new pot of coffee every thirty minutes until he gets here so its fresh when and if he asks for some.”
“You mean, he may not even want coffee? That seems wasteful.”
“Oh don’t worry,” She laughs. “There are plenty of people around here willing to take it off your hands. Especially security. Their suite is down there.”
For the next hour she shows me around, shows me which keys open which drawers and shows me how to work the phone.
“This will be the majority of your job,” she says. “Fielding phone calls. Mr. Grey is a very busy man and he gets a lot of phone calls. Very few of them actually get through. I have a tier system that seems to work very well. The bottom tier is clients, department heads, basically anyone not in his family or security. The only way the bottom tier gets to Mr. Grey is by appointment. No exceptions. If they don’t have an appointment, you take a detailed message of their name, when they called, where they’re calling from, what they’re calling about, and a number to reach them on. Then you type the message into an email and send it to him with the subject ‘phone message from’ and whoever it is.”
“Okay,” I say, and she continues.
“The next “tier” are security, his parents, and brother and sister. They get through automatically unless Mr. Grey is in a meeting or is not taking any phone calls. If you need to take a message, you’ll type an email the same as everyone else. If he’s not in a meeting, you’ll page him over the intercom and ask him if he is available to take the call and who its from.”
“And how will I know if it’s his family?” I ask.
“Oh, sorry. They’ll tell you. Carrick, Grace, Elliot, or Mia. I guess Kate now too. They know the drill so you don’t have to worry about it too much. If they tell you it’s an emergency, you don’t have to page Mr. Grey, just transfer it into his office.”
“Okay, so family gets through, everyone else by appointment,” I say.
“Not quite. The exception to all these rules is Mrs. Grey. If Mrs. Grey calls she gets through, no matter what. If he’s in a meeting, you interrupt him. If he’s on the phone, you walk into his office and tell him she’s on the phone. If you can’t find him, you politely put her on hold and you go and find him. Mrs. Grey always gets through.”
“Wow. His wife is pretty controlling, huh?” I giggle. Andrea doesn’t look amused.
“It’s not his wife,” she says.
The elevator door, pings and Andrea whirls around and stands. A man walks out of the elevator and my breath catches. He’s the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life. All this time, I thought Andrea was describing someone old, in their 40s or 50s. This man probably isn’t 30 yet and he looks like he just walked off a GQ photo shoot in his dark gray suit, white shirt, and black tie.
“Good-Morning, Mr. Grey,” Andrea says brightly.
“Andrea,” He says, shortly. “I need you to get ahold of Roach and tell him to call you when he arrives. I want to know the moment Mrs. Grey gets here.
“Absolutely, sir. Can I get you anything?”
“Coffee,” he replies in the same clipped tone. “What is this?” He gestures to me and I gulp under his hard, gray gaze.
“This is Rachel, sir. She’s Jessica’s replacement.”
“Hm,” He says, looking down at the mail he picked up out of the basket on the corner of Andrea’s desk. “Meeting in twenty.”
He walks through the wooden double doors and disappears. I take a deep breath, realizing I had been holding my breath. Oh. My. God. My boss is gorgeous.
“You’ll get over that,” Andrea says, correctly guessing my expression. I blush.
“I don’t know. You don’t think he’s attractive?” I ask.
“Oh he’s attractive, but he’s an asshole,” she replies as she begins gathering up her things.
“What?” I gasp, shocked she would make such an open statement about our boss with him only just behind the door.
“Look,” she says. “I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Mr. Grey is a very difficult man to work for. He demands perfection and anything less is unacceptable. You’re going to get yelled at. There are going to be days, when you cry in your car after you get off work. He’s going to make you feel about an inch tall a lot of the time.”
I gulp. “Then why do you work for him?”
“Two years ago,” she says. “There was a fire in my house and I lost everything. Three days later, my Dad died. I asked Mr. Grey if I could have the day of his funeral off and when he asked me why I didn’t want more time off, I told him I couldn’t afford to and told him about my house. He gave me the week off with pay, hired someone to arrange everything for my father and my family and paid for the entire funeral. When I returned to work, I had a message from a realtor asking me to make an appointment to look at houses. Mr. Grey gave an upfront down payment of $120,000. Not a loan, he just gave it to me. And when I found a house I liked that cost $275,000. He doubled my salary to help me pay my mortgage off in a year.”
“What? Why would he do that?” I gape.
“He’s an asshole, but he’s also the most generous, good hearted man I’ve ever met. That’s why I work for him.”
“Wow,” I respond, blown away by her story.
“Keep that in mind later when he’s screaming and cussing at you,” She says. She disappears and returns with a cup of coffee and then picks up two folders and a notebook and turns to me again.
“Just a couple of things before we go in. Never, and I mean never, ask him a question. If he asks you a question, you have an answer, no exceptions. And don’t stutter.” She begins to walk towards the doors, but rounds on me again.
“You might want to bring something to take notes.”
Andrea doesn’t knock before she goes in. Mr. Grey is sitting at his desk, staring at his computer.
“Your coffee, Mr. Grey,” She says as she sets it down in front of him. She takes a seat across from his desk and I sit down next to her, trying to control my breathing as I stare at the man before me. He really is too damn good looking.
“Andrea, my wife is going to be here in a couple hours and she’s not going to be happy,” he begins. Oh shit, I almost forgot he was married. I feel myself begin to sulk.
“Make sure she has everything she needs when she gets here,” he continues. “I’ll have Taylor show her where to park but I’ll need you to send some people downstairs to help her move her things inside. She still hasn’t healed all the way and I don’t want her lifting anything. She will object to this, but she is not to carry her things inside. Understood?”
“Yes, Mr. Grey,” Andrea responds and she makes a note on her notepad, I do the same.
They go over his schedule for the day and he tells her that he won’t be taking any phone calls today. I think back to what Andrea told me about phone calls and I wonder if he ever takes them.
“Is that all, Mr. Grey?” Andrea asks, finally.
“I need you to go into the file room and make a copy of the Taiwan contract and send it down to the lawyers,” He says. “Make sure it gets there before this afternoon.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey,” she says and she stands and leaves the office. I follow after her, intimidated by his tone and his stare.
The rest of the morning is fairly uneventful. I mostly just tell people Mr. Grey is unavailable and send him phone messages by email. Two scary looking men do go into Mr. Grey’s office around 10:30 but they’re the only people I see until around eleven when the elevator door opens and an angry looking brunette woman storms out.
Andrea jumps to her feet, an anxious look on her eyes. “Can I help you, Mrs. Grey?”
Oh, so this is his wife. She’s beautiful, but I knew she would be. Jealousy rocks through me as I watch her stride across the lobby.
“Is he in there?” she shouts and Andrea tries to tell her he’s in a meeting but she storms through the doors.
“Do we do anything?” I ask, and she shakes her head. “I’m going to head to lunch. Do you think you can manage the phones for an hour?” She asks. I nod and she grabs her purse and heads to the elevator. A few moments later the two scary looking men that had been in a meeting with Mr. Grey exit the room and join Andrea as the elevator doors open. I’m alone, it’s nerve racking. No, I’m fine. I can do this.
A couple minutes pass and a woman in a powersuit exits the elevator and hands me a manilla envelope.
“These are the notes on the Taiwan contract Mr. Grey asked for,” She says. “Make sure he gets them right away.” I nod and take the envelope from her. When she disappears in the elevator, I push away from my desk and cross the room to the double doors.
Shit do I knock? Andrea didn’t earlier. I remember what she told me about not asking questions. I was told to get these to him right away. I sigh, and ease open the door, and then freeze.
Mrs. Grey is laying naked across Mr. Grey’s desk and his head is buried in between her legs.
“You taste so good, baby,” I hear him say and it takes everything in me not to make a sound. I ease back out of the room, close the door as silently as possible and creep back to my desk. Fuck, I hope they didn’t see me. Please say the didn’t see me.
Another ten minutes pass and a now fully dressed Mrs. Grey hurries out of the office and towards the elevator. She doesn’t look at me and I wonder if she’s embarrassed. I’m embarrassed, this is the most uncomfortable situation I think I’ve ever been in, at work at least. When she’s gone, Mr. Grey comes out of his office and hands me his blackberry.
“This is dying,” he says. “Charge it.”
“Yes, sir,” I say and look down and feel relief wash over me as I see a phone charger plugged in next to my computer monitor.”
“Have you gotten your blackberry yet, miss…..?
“Carrington, sir. And no, Andrea hasn’t given me one yet.”
“See that she does,” He says. “Where is she?”
“Lunch, sir,” I say and he nods.
“I’m going to be on a conference call for about an hour. I’ll need you to order lunch for me and Mrs. Grey. Two Caesar salads, from that place on the corner.”
“Yes, sir,” I say and he goes back into his office.
I collapse in my chair. Whew, I survived my first solo encounter with Mr. Grey. His phone buzzes and I reach out to check what it is, it might be Mrs. Grey and Andrea said Mrs. Grey always gets through.
It’s an email.
From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: First time for everything
Date: September 3rd 2012 Time: 11:27 AM
To: Christian Grey
Mr. Grey, your oral presentation was most intriguing this morning. I do hope I shall be able to present one myself this evening.
Anastasia Grey, Commissioning Editor, Grey Publishing.
I gulp as I read the email. I can’t believe I walked in on that. Guiltily, I flip through the other emails from on the phone. There are hundreds. Does this man ever delete an email? Most of them are GEH domains or from Mrs. Grey. I scroll and scroll and scroll until I see a new name. Anastasia Steele? Oh Mrs. Grey before she was Mrs. Grey. Hmm… they haven’t been married that long.
I see an email with the subject “Issues.” I click on it and read:
From: Anastasia Steele
Date: May 24 2011 00:02
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
Here is my list of issues. I look forward to discussing them more fully at dinner on Wednesday.
The numbers refer to clauses:
2: Not sure why this is solely for MY benefit – ie to explore MY sensuality and limits. I’m sure I wouldn’t need a ten-page contract to do that! Surely this is for YOUR benefit.
4: As you are aware you are my only sexual partner. I don’t take drugs, and I’ve not had any blood transfusions. I’m probably safe. What about you?
8: I can terminate at any time if I don’t think you’re sticking to the agreed limits. Okay – I like this.
9: Obey you in all things? Accept without hesitation your discipline? We need to talk about this.
11: One month trial period. Not three.
12: I cannot commit every weekend. I do have a life, or will have. Perhaps three out of four?
15.2: Using my body as you see fit sexually or otherwise – please define “or otherwise.”
15.5: This whole discipline clause. I’m not sure I want to be whipped, flogged, or corporally punished. I am sure this would be in breach of clauses 2-5. And also “for any other reason”. That’s just mean – and you told me you weren’t a sadist.
15.10: Like loaning me out to someone else would ever be an option. But I’m glad it’s here in black and white.
15.14: The Rules. More on those later.
15.19: Touching myself without your permission. What’s the problem with this? You know I don’t do it anyway.
15.21: Discipline – Please see clause 15.5 above.
15.22: I can’t look into your eyes? Why?
15.24: Why can’t I touch you?
Sleep – I’ll agree to 6 hours. Food – I am not eating food from a prescribed list. The food list goes or I do – Deal breaker. Clothes – as long as I only have to wear your clothes when I’m with you… okay. Exercise – We agreed 3 hours, this still says 4.
Can we go through all of these?No fisting of any kind. What is suspension? Genital clamps – you have got to be kidding me.
Can you please let me know the arrangements for Wednesday? I am working until 5pm that day.
What the hell? What did I just open? My eyes flick around the room and I go into his sent folder and look for the one on the same date.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: This evening
Date: May 23 2011 23:16
To: Anastasia Steele
I look forward to receiving your notes on the contract.
Until then, sleep well, baby.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Contract? What contract. The phone buzzes as another email comes it makes me jump. I exit out of the email program, losing my nerve and put the phone down. It’s only been about 30 minutes since Andrea left and the phone hasn’t been ringing. I call the deli on the corner and order two caesar salads and am now left with nothing to do.
I decide to make a personal folder in the computer so I can leave notes for myself about all the ridiculous things I need to remember and decided to see if there are is anything on the hard drive that would help me out. There are a ton of documents in here and I flip through them. There’s the NDA I signed this morning…. And then my eyes fall on a document called Contract. I click on it but it is password protected. I search around the desk and find a sticky note under the keyboard with a list of passwords on it. I see, Grace5011 (CG) and type it in the computer. The document opens and I’m immediately floored. Fuck, I want to read this, but I don’t want to do it here. What if Grey comes out? I open the email program and send it to my personal email, deleting the sent document from Andrea’s email.
As I do, the elevator pings and Andrea appears.
“Sorry,” she says. “Did I miss anything?”
“No,” I respond. “You’re just in time. I need to run down to the corner and get the lunch I ordered for Mr. Grey,” She eyes me suspiciously.
“What did you order?”
“Two caesar salads, one for Mr. and Mrs. Grey.” I hope she doesn’t notice my blush as I say Mrs. Grey’s name.
“How did you order it?” I shrug and she walks to the phone, quickly dialing a number. “Is it under your name or his?”
“Mine,” I say, confused.
“Hi, I need to cancel an order for Rachel Carrington. Yes I need a new order. Two Caesar Salads, but I want them deconstructed. Make sure the chicken is hot and the cheese and the dressing are on the side. Oh, and we want the house butter and garlic croutons, not the seasoned ones. We’ll also take two of the grilled flat bread, but with olive oil instead of butter. Put the order under Rachel, she’ll be there in seven minutes to pick it up. Yes I understand, the order is for Christian Grey. Yes, thank you.”
She hangs up the phone and shoos me out of the office. Fifteen minutes later, I’m back with the food. Andrea takes the salad out of the plastic container and puts it together on a plate. She hands it to me and tells me to take it to Mr. Grey.
“Do I knock?” I ask, remembering the last time I went into his office. She nods and I mentally kick myself.
“What?” He shouts after I tap on the door and I hurry in. I set the food on my desk and he looks up at me.
“Has my wife eaten?” He asks.
“I’ll take hers down to her right now, sir.” He nods his head, a dismissal, and I hurry out of the office.
Andrea doesn’t put nearly as much effort into Mrs. Grey’s lunch. She hands me the plastic container and tells me to go to the 19th floor. Her office is easy to find and when I knock on her door, her response is sweet.
“Come in,” she says.
“Mrs. Grey? I’ve brought you some lunch,” I say. She rolls her eyes and motions me forward.
“I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve met.”
“No ma’am. Today is my first day. My name is Rachel. Rachel Carrington.”
“Hello, Rachel. Please don’t call me ma’am. Call me Ana.”
“Sorry, Ana,” I say and she smiles.
“Don’t let him get to you,” she says with a wink. “I know it must be very stressful up there for it being your first day.”
Crap. I like her.
“Yes, Mrs…. Ana.”
She laughs again. “Why don’t you give your number to my PA outside the door? Hannah. It’s probably a good idea for you two to be in touch. I’d like to have my calendar synced with Mr. Grey’s.”
“Right away, Ma’am… I mean Ana.” I blush and hurry out of her office, giving my information to Hannah, who also seems really nice. Damn, why didn’t I get put into this office?
The rest of the afternoon drags on and Mr. Grey doesn’t reappear until he leaves. I spend the rest of the afternoon anxious to get home so I can read the email sitting in my mailbox but Grey doesn’t leave until after 6. When he does, Andrea tells me I can go and I thank her for her help and practically run out the door.