Getting back to work after Kate has officially left me is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. My suit is pressed, my hair is slicked back, and my face has been cleared of the stubble I let build up over the weekend. I look like I would any other day. Except that today, I’m completely falling apart. As if losing her wasn’t bad enough, she isn’t even speaking to me right now, so there’s nothing I can say to change her mind.
I have to find a way to change her mind.
My eyes once again well with tears as I step into the elevator, and I’m so distracted dashing them away that I run head first into a small woman holding a stack of papers in her arms. When I look over to apologize, I almost have to do a double take. Her hair is exactly the same shade of blonde, and her eyes are the same pale green. She’s wearing quite a bit more makeup than Kate normally would, her body is a little slimer, her breasts slightly larger, and her beauty doesn’t have the same sweetness to it, but she could be her sister. My body reacts to the glitter in her eye when she looks up and sees me, as if she really is the woman I love.
“Mr. Grey! I’m so sorry, excuse me.”
“No, it was my fault. Here, let me help.” She gives me a wide, sparkling smile as we bend down to gather the files on the floor, and when I pick up a piece of loose paper to slide back into the manila folder it came from, I recognize the layout of Christian’s building.
“You’re on the the GEH project?” I ask.
“Yes, sir. I’m Gia Matteo, the uh… designer.”
“I’ve actually been trying to schedule some time to meet with you for a few weeks, but you’ve been booked solid. I have some design proposals for the Grey Executive Suite, I wanted to run them past you.”
“I’ll take a look at my calendar. You’re here until…?”
“Until after our meeting.” She smiles again, broader this time. It’s infectious. I can’t help but smile back and as the elevator pings at her floor, and it’s not lost on me that this is the first time I’ve smiled since I had Kate in that hotel room a few weeks back.
She steps off the elevator and I hit the button to close the door behind her. When I get to my office, I immediately pull up Outlook and find an open time to schedule for Miss Matteo. Unfortunately, there isn’t much available right now except for the later hours in my work day.
From: Elliot Grey
Subject: GEH Design Meeting
Required: Gia Matteo
When: September 22nd 2011, 05:00 PM
Location: CEO Office
I hope this fits in with your schedule.
CEO, Grey Construction
I send the invite and start going through the other emails I have waiting for me this morning, feeling a little of the crippling depression this break up has left me in lift as my mind is temporarily distracted by each and every crisis I read in my inbox. I’m just responding to the foreman on the SoDo project when the acceptance of the calendar invite I sent to Miss Matteo comes through.
From: Gia Matteo
Subject: RE: GEH Design Meeting
Date: September 19th 2011, 08:49 AM
To: Elliot Grey
I’ll get take out. I have a lot of really great ideas.
Interior Designer, Grey Construction
With the meeting on my calendar, I don’t give much thought to it until Thursday rolls around and the reminder pops up on my screen. This week has been hell between the constant rejection of trying to get Kate on the phone and Christian checking in on me every 45 minutes. For as bad as it hurt when Kate officially broke it off, the separation from her now is becoming unbearable and the distance makes it more difficult to handle everything. My workload and the stress that come with it are starting to weigh on me.
I miss her.
And all I want in the world is to hear her voice and have her back in my arms.
“Mr. Grey?” I look up and see the same blonde hair and green eyes that met me in the elevator earlier in the week, and just like before it strikes me hard how much she looks like the girl I’m desperate to talk to.
“Come in, Miss Matteo,” I say, waving her over to the chair on the other side of my office. She has a plastic bag in her hand that sends the delicious scent of Chinese food wafting over to me, reminding me how hungry I am. When did I last eat?
“This is very kind of you,” I tell her, as I take a seat and glance over the cardboard containers she opens. “Give me your receipts and I’ll expense this out for you.”
She waves a hand dismissively. “It’s my pleasure. Honestly, it’s nice to have someone to eat with.”
“Hm.” I hope the subtle response is enough to cover up how much I agree.
“Alright. So, I’ve been going over this for weeks and I’ve done several mock-ups because I’m not really sure what Grey… er, Christian Grey would feel matches the culture of his organization aesthetically.”
“Well, he’s pretty uptight and takes everything very literally. The building is going to be called Grey House, we can probably just paint everything gray and he’ll be over the moon.”
She laughs, and at first I think it’s a placation because I’m her boss, but there’s something genuine in the sound, and in the way her hand brushes over my arm before she continues. I return my attention to her materials, pointing out the things I like, the things I don’t, and make a few jokes as we move from concept to concept. She laughs every time, and I can’t deny that it feels nice. As we dig into the chinese food she’s brought, the conversation becomes lighter and steadily less and less about the project in front of us.
“Oh, good lord. It’s almost six thirty. Your wife’s not going to be mad that I kept you, is she?”
I shake my head. “I’m not married.”
It hurts, like being punched directly in the diaphragm. “Nope. No girlfriend.”
“Really? Wow, I wouldn’t have guessed that.”
“You?” I ask, trying to be polite, but she shakes her head the same way I did. “No, I uh… just haven’t been able to find the right guy. Looking though, definitely looking.”
“Looking,” I repeat. “God, I never thought I’d be back here. I uh… I just got out of a really long term relationship. I thought that was gonna be it, but she’s gone and it’s… miserable.”
“Any chance of a reconciliation?”
I let out a defeated sigh. “I really want one, but I don’t think so. She’s a pretty stubborn girl and once she makes up her mind about something, there’s no changing it. It’s funny. I used to love that about her.”
“Why did you break up? I mean, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“We’re on different paths.” I tell her, the disdain in my voice obvious as I quote Kate. “I guess I underestimated how important some things were to her. Things I can’t give her.”
“Well, then maybe it’s good you found that out now, before you invested anymore time. I’m sure it feels like the end of the world now, but it would hurt more later. Trust me, I stayed way too long with my last boyfriend, and then too long after we broke up feeling bad about it. You’re never going to be younger than you are now, you should be out there taking advantage of that.”
I don’t know why, I hardly know this girl, but for some reason I feel comfortable talking to her. She’s my employee, so it feels like there’s a fine line I have to walk, but just the way Kate was always able to get me to open up, so it seems can this girl. Maybe it’s the wide, green eyes.
“I really don’t even want to right now. I can’t imagine that there’s anyone out there who would come even close to her.”
“There’s only one way to find out. You’re a Grey. You’re hot, and young, and successful. This city is filled with girls who would love to go out with you.”
“You think so?”
“I know so. And you’re single now, it’s not a crime to look.”
I stare at her for a long time, reflecting on the blunt honesty of her statement. Christian has told me over and over again that the best way to heal a broken heart is to take some time for myself and reflect on what I want from here, but he was miserable over Ana for years. What does he know about healing a broken heart? Maybe the answer is to not think. Maybe the answer is to just… do. I wasn’t looking for Kate when I found her, maybe the next girl I’ll love is out there just waiting for me to show up. At least getting out and letting myself be open to the idea will help with the loneliness. It’s easier when I’m not alone because I think about her less. Maybe, in order to get over her, I have to force myself to move on.
“Thank you, Miss Matteo, for your presentation and the free counseling.”
“Free? I’m sending you my bill.”
I laugh, and then pick up one of the mock-ups still on the table in front of us. “Look, there’s a lot of work to be done on GEH and not a lot of time left to do it. It might be good for us to meet on a regular basis. Thursday nights at 5?”
“Really? Oh, that would be so great, Mr. Grey. Thank you!”
“Elliot,” I correct her. “Honestly, whenever I hear Mr. Grey I look around for my dad… or my brother.”
“Elliot,” she says, smiling again. “Then, please, call me Gia.”
“Alright. I’ll see you next week, Gia.”
“Next week, Mr. Grey. I mean… Elliot.” I smile and help her gather her things, then walk her to the door. Once she’s gone, I head back for my desk, find my phone, and quickly dial Christian’s number.
“Hey, Elliot,” he answers. “How are you doing?”
“Good. Really good, actually. Hey, what are you doing tonight?”
“Well, it’s a Thursday, so no plans… Why?”
“Because we’re going out. Meet me at Montana in half an hour.”
“Montana? Isn’t that a bar?”
“So… you’re going to get drunk with people around now? I’m not sure that’s a positive step.”
“No, I’m going to talk to some girls.”
“Girls? You’re sure you’re ready for that?”
“Dead sure. See you soon.”
Over the next few weeks Christian and I hit every dive bar north of King Street, and while he’s an exemplary wingman, I find that Gia was perhaps a little too right about finding girls in this city. I’m open to the idea of casual dating, sharing dinner with someone, spending a night out, maybe sex… but I’m nowhere near ready for a relationship. But it’s like every woman I meet hears my last name and immediately starts picking out china patterns and wedding stationary. So, rather than trying to pick up overly available girls in bars, I start taking Christian with me to strip clubs where the girls have a very clear idea of why I’m there and don’t try to make us into something we’re never going to be. Unfortunately, we only get to go a few times before Ana finds out and Christian’s availability for nights out on the town comes to a sudden and abrupt end. I try for a while to go out with some of my old buddies from High School, but it’s just too damn depressing hanging around the same guys I was friends with before Kate only to find out that they haven’t changed at all from who they were at eighteen. Eventually, I’m right back to where I started. Having dinner in my now too big house, alone.
Except Thursday nights.
My Thursday night meetings with Gia quickly become the highlight of my week. She has an electric kind of personality that draws you in and the more I get to know her, the less I find comfort in her similarities to Kate and instead find enjoyment in what makes her unique. She’s a little shallow, that becomes obvious very quickly, but she’s also a really great listener. Each week our conversations become more and more engaging until we’re hardly meeting to talk about business at all. By November, every meeting begins to feel like a date.
“I don’t know,” she says, sipping a glass of the white wine that Christian recommended to go with the cod I’d had my secretary bring in before she left tonight. “Maybe the whole idea of soulmates is just bullshit. Maybe there isn’t one person out there for everyone. Maybe there isn’t really any point to anything beyond the chemical attraction that exists to make us fuck each other in order to continue the human race. In which case, what’s even the point of relationships or marriage at all? We should just be having sex, right?”
I don’t think she’s being serious, so I chuckle as if it’s a joke, but after I take a sip of my wine she leans in and gently presses her lips against mine.
I freeze, unsure of exactly how I’m supposed to react. Her lips are soft against mine, and her tongue tastes faintly of wine. It’s intriguing, but inappropriate. We work together. In fact, I’m her boss. This kind of relationship between the two of us would be… wrong.
But that’s kind of hot, too.
When she pulls away, she looks at me with fear in her eyes, like she’s afraid of how I’m going to react. “I-uh…”
I don’t wait to hear what she’s going to say. Instead, I lunge at her and take her mouth with mine. It’s a rush, like adrenaline, knowing what I’m doing is so taboo, and that rush is strong enough to truly lift the weight of my depression off of me for the first time in nearly two months. I can’t stop myself. I really kiss her, and she responds. Soon, our hands are flying over each other, tugging at clothes and hair, until she’s actually panting in my mouth.
“You can leave,” I tell her, giving her an out just in case this is all only because I have a very definable amount of authority over her and she doesn’t know how to say no. “Really. If you don’t want this, you can go and nothing will change. We’ll move on from here as if this never happened.”
“I want this,” she whispers back. “I’ve wanted this since the first time I saw you in the elevator.”
It’s all the green light I need. I push her back onto the sofa and let my hands explore her body, pleased with everything I find. She’s in amazing shape. She’s small, but strong. Her tits are full, her hips narrow, and her ass is high and really, really tight. I can feel that through her slacks. And, as I hitch her leg over my hip and really get a feel, I know that I’m going to take her from behind right here so that I can see that ass bouncing against me.
Her tongue is fierce and confident in my mouth, ravaging me. It’s hot and primal. Dirty. And it makes my head swim with fantasies about everything I want to do to her. But it’s been a long time now since I’ve done this with someone who I even remotely cared about that wasn’t Kate. I’d perfected the art of pleasuring her to the point where that’s all I really know how to do anymore. I have no idea if what works for her is going to work for Gia, and I want to pleasure her. As I start to obsess over her reaction to each and every one of my touches, I get so in my head that the heat building between us fizzles and dissolves away.
“Everything okay?” Gia pants, sitting up slightly so she can look at me better.
“Yeah, sorry. I uh… I’ve just been in a relationship for a long time. This all, weirdly, feels a little new for me.”
“Well, let me help…”
She gives me a coy smile as she wriggles out from beneath me and falls to her knees on the floor. I pivot to face her, then she reaches up and starts slowly unfurling my belt from the buckle. I’m entranced by the precision with which she undoes the buttons, then the zipper on my pants, and when she reaches through my boxers and grips my erection, my breath hisses between my teeth. She moans.
“Thick. Mmm, this is going to be really, really good.”
She sits up, simultaneously pulling my dick out of my pants, and then leans down to take me into her mouth. I hum my approval, letting my head fall back against the sofa as she sets to work. She’s got skill and not much of a gag reflex. Between her tongue, the suction of her lips, and the tightness at the back of her throat, she soon has me gasping and my thighs clenching with unexpected pleasure.
“That’s it, baby. Oh fuck!”
“Mmm, you taste amazing, Elliot. Your cock is incredible. I can’t wait to have this monster in me.”
She starts sucking harder and uses her hand to cup and tug my balls as she devours me. I lose myself in her rhythm, taking pleasure in each and every pass of her tongue across the base of my cock until I’m ready to explode.”
“Shit, baby. You’re going to make me come.”
“How fast can you rebound?”
I look down into her wide, green eyes, those eyes, and know I’m at the point of no return. Even if she stopped now and let me start fucking her, I’d explode immediately. But I can draw this out. And, if I’m going to screw myself over by screwing the staff, I might as well do it thoroughly.
“Pretty quick,” I growl. “If you don’t want me to come in your mouth, stop now.” Her lips tighten around me so I grab the hair at the back of her head, push her down on me, and erupt into her throat. Her mouth continues to suck the length of my shaft, tightening with each pulse of my orgasm, until it starts to overwhelm me and I have to pull her off.
She straightens and starts kissing me again, rolling her tongue with mine as she pushes me back onto the couch. Once I’m lying down, she pulls away and stands over me. Keeping her eyes on mine, she undoes each button on her blouse slowly and peels it away from her smooth, creamy skin. Next she sashays out of her pants, turning away from me as she pulls them down her hips, and my breath actually catches in my throat when I see her perfect ass framed by the tiny lace thong she’s wearing.
I can’t stop myself. I sit up and bury my face into her, reaching with my tongue to brush over the small triangle of fabric that conceals her clit from me. She moans and arches her back, pushing herself back into me. I reach up and grab both her breasts, holding her still while I work to get my tongue under her panties. It’s hard to breathe, but that just turns me on.
Once I have her wetness on my tongue, I’m like a shark that’s tasted blood in the water. It sends me into a frenzy. The way I start to eat her is ravenous and sloppy, but she quickly goes from small mewling moans, to screaming and gasping. With one hand she reaches back and grips my hair, clawing into my scalp, egging me on. She drained me only minutes ago, but just hearing the sounds she makes and feeling the way her body quakes for my tongue already has me hard again.
“Come, Gia,” I say into her pussy, rolling my tongue with each word. “Give it up for me, baby.”
She trembles, and when I tug down the cups of her bra with my hands and tighten my fingers around each of her nipples, she starts convulsing. My mouth is filled with the slickness of her release, but I swallow it hungrily, desperate for more.
“Oh my god,” she says, breathless as she comes down.
I yank her arm to pull her back onto the couch then maneuver between her legs. Thankfully, I always keep a condom in my wallet for emergencies, so, after fishing it out of my pants and rolling it on to my erection, I slam into her without even bothering to fully remove her panties. She screams, but doesn’t ask me to stop. This isn’t like the sex I had with Kate. I don’t care about creating a connection with her. I don’t care about being tender or gentle. I care about getting off, about getting her off, and she’s right there with me. She meets me, thrust for violent thrust, crying out my name and clawing the sofa to keep herself anchored. I move my hands between her tits and her hips, marveling at the perfection in front of me. Damn, this girl is so fucking hot. She’s gorgeous, her body is outrageous, and she’s seemingly completely uninhibited. I’ve had sex with my fair share of girls over the years, but it’s never been like this. She isn’t shy, or coy. She doesn’t bother trying to make this about love we both know isn’t there. She takes from me what she wants and gives me back what I need. And that’s it. Simple. Animalistic in its very nature. I’m enraptured, instantly addicted, and… unexpectedly possessive. Now that I’ve had her, I don’t want to stop. And I don’t want to hand her off to someone else.
It’s confusing. Painful and filled with pleasure all at once. But when I see her mouth fall open and her screams become silent as the orgasm I’m building her up to starts to take over, my mind is set. I wait just until her orgasm hits then let go myself, continuing to thrust in and out of her as the waves of pleasure wash over me. It pulls me into her, more than just physically, and I know the deal is sealed.
I didn’t think I wanted another relationship. I don’t really, but being around Gia feels better than being alone. If Kate has made up her mind, which seems to be the case based on what I’ve seen splashed across every tabloid and gossip site about her exploits in New York, then maybe this is okay. Maybe spending time with Gia, not just on Thursdays, but everyday, will keep life from hurting so bad. Maybe this is how I move on.
I realize that doing this means I’ve accepted what’s happened and that I’ve given up on trying to fix it. Well, no… Kate’s given up. She won’t see me and she won’t talk to me, so I don’t know how I’m supposed to fight for her, or even if she wants me to. Truth be told, I don’t even know that I should. She’s told me what she wants, what will make her happy, and I can’t give those things to her. If someone else will, then maybe loving her means that I have to let her go and find the person who will make her happy. It feels like a knife being thrust into my heart even considering that, but what other option is there? I guess that’s what Kate was telling me all along. There’s no way forward from here unless one of us gives up what will make us happy in the future, and if either of us has to make that sacrifice, we’ll never be truly happy together the way we were before it got to this point.
We’re on different paths.
Gia said she didn’t believe in soulmates or marriage earlier. Maybe that’s true, and if it is, maybe I could be happy with her. Maybe.
“Oh fuck,” Gia moans, rolling around on the cushions of the sofa with a pleased smile spread across her face. “That was incredible. You, Elliot Grey, might just be a sex god.”
“I do what I can.” I slip out of her and remove the condom, knotting the end and tossing it onto the floor to deal with later. Then, I crawl over the top of her and settle down on my elbows so that we’re face to face. “What are you doing on Saturday?”
“I’m… having dinner with you.”
“Good. Then I’ll call you.” She smiles and pulls my lips down to hers again. I let the kiss linger for a long time, testing it. It feels good, and good is better than anything I’ve felt in over a month. I don’t know that I’m ready for this, maybe I’m making a mistake, but everyone has told me for weeks I need to find a way to move on. That felt like such a pointless phrase. “Move on.” Where did they want me to go? Now, I have a destination. Gia. And, hopefully, this won’t just be an end to the epic chapter of my life that was Katherine Kavanagh, but the start of new grand adventure.